AdWords is now Google Ads. Our new name reflects the full range of advertising options we offer across Search, Display, YouTube, and more. Learn more

Analytics
2.6K members online now
2.6K members online now
Learn how to set up goals and Ecommerce tracking, verify accuracy of attribution traffic sources, and discuss funnel visualization, Multi-Channel Funnels, the Goal Flow Report, and Enhanced Ecommerce
 
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks in advanced for any help/advice!

 

I saw a spike in direct traffic for a client’s website on Nov 3rd and looked into it. There is an unusually high number of direct sessions landing on pages all across the website. All of these sessions occurred in the same city and browser and device type, all at 8am. All of the data is one pageview and 0 seconds and they’re all considered new visitors. This is a small business so this abnormal traffic behavior stands out. The hostname is the normal domain name.

 

It looks like one user may have been tracked as multiple sessions across pageviews? Or maybe this was bot-related? Any ideas or similar experiences out there?

 

Thanks!

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Brad,

is it a single recognizable company in the service-provider report (Audience > Technology > Network)?

Did you check the referral report if it is some kind of referral spam?

Christoph

Re: Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
Hi Brad,

What you see is most likely referral spam. These are 0 second duration and 100% bounce rate sessions, usually direct home page hits. Spammers collecting your UA id and domain name using bots and then they are sending hits directly to Google Analytics using the measurement protocol, they fake the hostname and the other details in the payload data so it looks like legit traffic, it is difficult to filter it out. You can create a segment that excludes direct home page visits that are 0 second duration and 100% bounce rate. Hope this helps.

Arnold Majlath, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please accept it as solution.
Circle Me On Google+ | Visit me @ Redfly Digital

Re: Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Christoph,

It looks like the service provider is hubspot. Could it be some kind of hubspot crawlers being triggered as users?

The traffic is coming in as Direct, so it doesn't look like referral spam.

Thanks!

Re: Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Ah, so referral spam can sometimes come in as Direct... Does the fact that the service provider is Hubspot offer any clues?

Re: Unusual Spike in Direct Sessions on a Single Day

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
Brad, Unfortunately, referral spam or ghost sessions CAN AND DO report as direct. Usually, they implant the or spam somewhere else in the account, like in event names, page titles etc. This definitely sounds like that and you should segment the direct traffic and have a look around to see if there's anything spammer about it in other reports.