Direct Traffic Reporting Bugs in Google Analytics Around Nov. 16th-18th?


Some routine traffic checks for clients (who shall remain anonymous) revealed some interesting anomolies in Google Analytics for direct traffic. Starting around Nov. 16th-18th, these clients had steep dropoffs in direct traffic - anywhere from 30% to 90%.

Digging in deeper, the bulk of that "lost" traffic was traffic going to the homepage for these sites. While other landing pages show direct traffic drops around that time, the homepage was what really took it on the chin.

None of these sites seemed to have "recovered" their suddenly missing direct traffic. It's not usual for a site to lose direct traffic so quickly and steeply and given that it was observed across multiple clients, I wonder if there is something else to this.

A quick Google search turned up these 2 forum threads, which describe pretty much the same issue in the same 2-day span:

Has anyone else observed these direct traffic "losses"? Any ideas what might explain sudden drops in direct traffic to homepages? Might this be related to bot activity or perhaps an Analytics issue? Thoughts?


Did the drop in Directs

Did the drop in Directs correlate to gains in other segments?

It did not - which is what

It did not - which is what confused me. I've seen traffic mistagged or misattributed before and that's how you usually find it - it went somewhere "else". But that doesn't seem to be happening here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.