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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
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Organic traffic shown as direct – Real Time Test

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I'm writing to share with you some interesting findings from a little "experiment" that we have conducted lately. After noticing a steady Year Over Year increase in Direct traffic, we simply searched google on a mobile device for a specific phrase from our website, then clicked from Google to our site, just to see in Google Analytics real time stats that this session is marked as direct and not organic. It happens randomly on many devices (sometime session source is organic and sometimes is direct). We can easily replicate this problem on many different devices on different sites.

Are you familiar with this issue? I'll be more than glad If someone can replicate our "test" and share the results with us.


Thank you in advance.


1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Organic traffic shown as direct – Real Time Test

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Yes, this has been widely reported. It has to do with the mobile device's passing on the referral information. When a browser came from is a piece of information that is up to the browser to decide. It can be spoofed or left out completely. If a visit has referral information, GA uses it to determine the medium (organic, referral, email, cpc, etc). If not supplied, it is (none) i.e. direct.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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