Why do I see more direct traffic than expected?

Last updated: July 21, 2017

Applies to:

Marketing Hub
Basic, Professional, Enterprise

If you've noticed more direct traffic in the sources report than expected, refer to the rules listed below. HubSpot will categorize visits and contacts as Direct Traffic if any of the following criterion are true:

  • Referral URL:
    • The referring URL of a visit is an identified mail domain or RSS reader.
    • The referring URL of a visit is empty because a visitor typed your website URL into their browser directly or the referring information is otherwise lost. For an example, see this blog post for an explanation of "dark social."
    • The referring domain has SSL (https://), but your domain does not. In this case, the referrer is dropped and this traffic will be categorized as Direct Traffic.
    • We are unable to categorize the visit under another source based on the referring URL.
  • Form submission:
    • A contact submitted a HubSpot form on a page without the HubSpot tracking code. The system recognizes that the form submission came from a website visit, but will not be able to categorize it without the tracking code on the page.
    • There is no usertoken being passed through the form submission. This can occur when using the Forms API or if cookie tracking has been disabled on the form.
    • The visitor who submitted the form has opted to not accept cookies from your site.

If you believe that your traffic is still being bucketed incorrectly, navigate to Reports > Reports Settings > Privacy Policy to ensure that cookies are enabled.

Also, please note that increases in direct traffic can be due to internal traffic or internal domain setup. Please check out this article to learn how you can filter out internal traffic from your website analytics and click here to learn how cross-domain linking could be causing an increase in direct traffic.

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