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  • Comparing GA4 and UA: Significant Increase in Direct Traffic

    Posted by Xavier on 13 March 2023 at 6:01 am

    Hey there, I spotted something weird after setting up GA4 Properties. We’re seeing way more direct traffic than we used to in the session default channel grouping – it’s doubled! But what’s odd is that the total traffic on GA4 and UA is pretty much the same. So, I’m guessing we’re seeing a shift from Google ads traffic (cos they’re now showing way less) to this direct traffic.

    I’ve been trying to spot the error in the GTM, but no luck yet.

    Mia replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Owen

    Member
    18 May 2023 at 3:29 am

    No worries, buddy! The strange traffic shift you’re seeing is actually a little hiccup with GA4. You see, paid search events are wrongly ending up counted as organic or direct traffic – it’s a bug. You can track this issue online. Here you go: [Google Issue Tracker](https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/241258655).

  • Mia

    Member
    23 June 2023 at 2:53 pm

    This issue may be due to the difference in the way GA4 and Universal Analytics (UA) qualify and classify traffic sources. GA4 is known to classify some traffic as direct that UA would have otherwise attributed to a different source. This could explain why there’s an increase in direct traffic, but a decrease in Google ads traffic. It’s likely not an error with your Google Tag Manager configuration, but a result of the changes in attribution models between GA4 and UA. To get a more precise understanding, you might want to check the ‘Source’ and the ‘Medium’ parameters under the ‘Traffic acquisition’ report in GA4, compare it with UA, and see if there’s significant discrepancies. If you still find it complicated, consider consulting with a digital analytics expert to better interpret these changes.

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