How Google Analytics attributes conversions to Direct Traffic?

Google Analytics attributes conversions to direct traffic in TWO ways

#1 In the case of non-multi channel funnel reports in Google Analytics, the conversion is attributed to the previous non-direct campaign/traffic source (if there is one).

For example:

If a person clicked on an organic search listing to visit your website and then later returned to your website directly and made a purchase then Google will attribute conversion to the organic search and not to the direct traffic.

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2. In case of multi channel funnel reports in Google Analytics, the conversion is attributed to the direct traffic (provided direct traffic is the last interaction) even if previous campaign/source is non-direct.

For example:

If a person clicked on an organic search listing to visit your website and then later returned to your website directly and made a purchase then Google will attribute conversion to the direct traffic and not to the organic search.

So Google attributes conversions to direct traffic in 2 ways and not just in one way depending upon which type of report you are looking into (multi-channel funnel report or non-multi channel funnel report).

Note: When you are analysing the impact of direct traffic on your business bottom-line, it is wise to look and draw conclusions from the non-multi channel funnel reports rather than the multi-channel funnel reports, as non-multi channel funnel reports present true customer buying behaviour in case of direct traffic.

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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