How do I interpret the Referrer reports?


Webtrends Analytics 9.x
Webtrends Analytics 8.x


You are viewing the Referrer reports such as Referring Site or Referring Domain and do not understand some of the entries you are seeing. You are seeing domains you might expect but also see Direct Traffic as well as your own domain.


The referrer reports look at a field in the log files that contains Referrer information. This information is passed from the browser and placed into the log files. During analysis Webtrends interprets the first Referrer for the visit and places the value into these reports.

Other domains:
These are the domains that were in the referrer field on the first hit in your log files for that visitor’s visit. Examples might be Google, Facebook, Twitter, or a host of other possible domain names.

Direct Traffic:
This labels means that the hit did not have any information in the Referrer field of the log file. This results when the user did not click on an href link in a web page to get to your site but instead used a direct link not found on a web page.

The ways this can occur are:
1. The link was clicked in an email.
2. The link was clicked as a bookmark in their browser or direct link from their desktop.
3. The user typed in the address manually in the address bar.
4. The Referrer was stripped out by a proxy or other network device. This is not a problem for the On Demand service, but some software customers may have the have the proxy servers configured to remove the Referrer from the hit. Evidence of this is would appear as 100% Direct Traffic in the Referrer reports.

Your own Domain appears in the report:
Your own web site’s domain can appear in the report when someone is on your site already but starts a new session. This can happen if the users session expires, but they come back and continue to browse new pages. Let’s say a user comes to your site and browsed around for a little while. Then they decide to leave for lunch but leave their browser open. They’re gone for at least 31 minutes. When they come back and click on a new link, we’ve now started that first link as a new session in Webtrends. Because they used a link on your page, the browser passes your own domain as the Referrer. Subsequently your own domain appears in the Referrer reports. This could also happen if they used a link on your site to visit another website you were not analyzing data for. If they used a new tab, they might let more than 30 minutes transpire prior to coming back to your tab and continuing to browse around.

This can also occur if you are filtering out some of the traffic in your reports. For example:

If you have three hits spaced 20 minutes apart, we have a single visit that lasted 40 minutes.
First hit- 0 minutes
Second hit- 20 minutes
Third hit- 40 minutes

If you then remove the middle hit with a filter, when the reports analyze, more than 30 minutes has elapsed between the two remaining hits causing a new visit to be calculated:
First hit- 0 minutes
Third (now second) hit – 40 minutes

Initial Referrer uses Visitor History and keeps track of the first Referrer the user ever had depending on your VH settings. This is not the same as the first referrer for the visit and should not be used as such.

For example,
January – I come to your site for the first time using Google as my referrer
My Initial Referrer is Google

March – I come to your site again and type in the URL since I now have it memorized.
My Initial Referrer would still be Google.