Measuring something else than page views in Google Analytics

Lets say that this is a webpage praising the work of The Coen brothers (makers of Epic classics such as Fargo, Burn after Reading and my all time favorite movie “The Big Lebowski” to name a few.On this website I have placed a link to Joel Coens profile on IMDB. I have also created a small Flash application on this page where a visitor kan flick back and forth in some “behind the scenes” pictures. None of the actions connected to these tools will be registered in Google Analytics by default. Google Analytics is in essence page view oriented, and since none of these described scenarios include loading a page with my GA.js file.

6 years ago when I started web analytics, the hack would be to link to a redirect page, referring the visitor directly to the IMDB page, but ensuring that the analytics codes were implemented on the redirect page.

How much of your direct traffic is actually direct?

Not as much as Google Analytics will tell you.

Direct traffic in Google Analytics are visitors arriving on your site without a referral (i.e. without a site or “place” linking to your site).

Direct traffic is important and interesting to monitor, because it is a quick and dirty brand awareness monitor. The thesis is that the more visitors remember your brand name and choose to type that directly into the browser adress line, the better your marketing activities are performing. During and after a large offline campaign, one would like to see an increase in direct visits, because you are communicating your brand name / web adresse, and your communication of course works.

While typing your URL directly into the address line allways will register as a direct visit, all direct visits arent people typing your URL into the browser. This means that direct traffic, as a brand awareness measurement, is poluted. The amount of pollution varying with your marketing mix to name the worst.

Here is a couple of websites digging deeper into why a visitor would be registered as a direct visit by mistake:

Occam’s Razor by¬†Avinash Kaushik