Hyde here from Shopify. Great question!
Storeowners like yourselves may look through their reports and notice that our analytics were unable to determine where a visitor is coming from (ie. who the referrer was).
This could be down to any number of reasons. The visitor could be using a VPN, for example, or is using some other third-party tool that prevents us from collecting information about their referrer.
"Direct" means that the visitor typed the store name or address into Google and went directly to the website, as opposed to being referred to your site by an ad or a link on a third-party site.
Sometimes you might even see a random website that you do not recognize in your reports. This is due to a process called Referrer spam (also known as log spam or referrer bombing). This involves making repeated website requests using a fake referrer URL to the site.
Why does this happen? Well, because by doing this the sender hopes it will create a backlink to their own business and therefore improve the spammer's search engine ranking.
Not to worry though! This kind of spam will not harm your site or compromise your own SEO ranking in any way. All it does is pollute your Analytics, which is harmless if a little bothersome.
You could try leveraging a more dedicated, advanced analytics tool like Google Analytics, as it has more advanced filtering tools and can be set up to filter out information like this on Google Analytics reports. For more information on Shopify's Analytics, we have plenty in our guide right here.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions. -Hyde
Sorry, I might not have been as clear as I could have been: when something is "unknown" it is because we were unable to collect information about it to display to you.
I offered a few reasons why this might be the case: the visitor might be using a VPN that masks some of their data like their location and/or browser, or they may be using a third-party tool or browser. Some browsers, for example, hide all information on a browser session, so if a visitor is using one of these browsers we cannot identify anything about them. Or it could be something as innocuous or unremarkable as the visitor's internet timing out mid-session!
I hope that clears matters up for you! Please let me know if there's anything else you'd like to ask or discuss.
No way my customers even know what a VPN is. Likewise, no way so many are using some third party tool to disguise themselves. They could be Apple users, though. Would that be nothing? Their internet services are not tiining out, not in those kinds of nubmers. Also, are their some websites that would not reveal their links?
Hi, @Andrew I am facing the same "doubt". There is this Linktr referrer name, but unknown referrer source. Is this means, the visitor came via linktr link? In our case, our linktr only visible on Instagram.
Is that means, this visitor is coming from Instagram and Shopify unable to track traffic from instagram? But this statement apparently incorrect, as from other community discussion, shopify track instagram as social media referrer source. Well this makes it become another big "Doubt".
Would you be able to assist on clarification?
Make the shift from discounts to donations, and witness your business not only thrive fina...By Holly Dec 4, 2023
On our Shopify Expert Marketplace, you can find many trusted third party developers and fr...By Arno Nov 27, 2023