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75% of the direct traffic are new visitors - possible? GA

8:44 am on Sep 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone,
on our site, we have about 50% traffic from Google, 20% direct traffic. What I have discovered is that the percentage of new visits from both traffic sources are very close, to be 75%.

Now I think I need some clarification on a basic understanding of GA. If I select a time period of 1 Jan - 31 Mar, and someone visited us directly on 2 Jan by typing the URL. If we also assume that that person has previously visited us 2 weeks ago (therefore outside my time frame) from Google, would this visit on 2 Jan be counted as a direct visit? Would it be counted as a new visit?

I guess my question is if it being a direct/new visit has anything to do with the selected time window?
4:15 am on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The quick-and-easy answer is that probably no one knows. My site gets typically 60% new and 40% returning on both Adsense and Piwik reports so there is a cookie somewhere that both of them are looking at.
8:11 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Would it be counted as direct? probably not, if the second visit came through a Google search.

Would it be counted as a new visit? Absolutely. As best I can determine, Google is very vague about the time frame that constitutes a "new visitor." But it is apparently a matter of hours, not days.

If anyone has found a precise definition of when a repeat visitor is a "new visitor" I would appreciate seeing it.
6:42 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My understanding is that a visit is classified as "new" when the visitor comes to the site without having a __utma cookie set.


Repeat visitor can get classified as a "new visitor" if they clear the __utma cookie, or it has expired. It expires after 2 years. Google explains in much more detail here: [support.google.com...]
6:58 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Regarding the original question about source of traffic - the source of the visit is not changed by a direct visit. So, if the guy who came on Jan 2 had previously come in via organic search, he would still be classified has having his source as organic search.

Google explains it like this (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565):

Analytics stores campaign source information in the __utmz cookie. Each time the values in this cookie are updated, Analytics opens a new visit. In the example above, Bob first arrives at your website via the Google organic keyword Red Widgets, then later returns via the Google paid keyword Blue Widgets.

Each search term updates the campaign cookie, therefore each keyword corresponds to a new visit.

What Causes Updates to the __utmz Campaign Cookie?

Generally speaking, the campaign cookie is updated anytime the visitor arrives at your site via a search engine, referring website, or campaign tagged URL. Direct traffic, however, never updates or replaces an existing campaign source such as a search engine, referring site, or campaign-tagged information.

Further, it would NOT be counted as a "new visit" since he has been to your site before. However, he would be counted once as a unique visitor in that time window.

So - NO - being neither being direct or new is related to the time window.

Direct is related to the __utmz cookie (campaign), and new is related to the __utma cookie.
10:18 pm on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How does GA handle the DNT header? One major analytics program ignores it in the specific case of MSIE 10. But anyone else with DNT counts as a new visitor each time.