What drives traffic


Channels in the Acquisition reports are rule-based groupings of the most-common sources of traffic, and include:

  • Organic Search: The search engines from which traffic originated
  • Referral: The domains from which referrals originated
  • Paid Search: The paid keywords, matched search queries, and campaigns from which traffic originated
  • Display: The display-ad content and campaigns from which traffic originated
  • Email: The email campaigns from which traffic originated

Analytics gives you a default group of channels for each view. You can edit that channel grouping under Admin > View > your view > Channel Grouping. You can edit the rules that define existing channels, and you can add and remove channels. That list of channels is visible in your Acquisition reports.


Your AdWords or custom campaigns.


The paid search terms that triggered your ads.

For Google organic searches, when SSL search is enabled, Keyword has the value (not provided).


All traffic that interacts with your content has a source, or point of origin, for example: a search engine (e.g., google, yahoo, bing), a referring site (e.g.,,, one of your newsletters (spring_newsletter), or users enter your URL or have it bookmarked (direct).


In addition to a source, traffic is also facilitated by a medium, for example: unpaid search (e.g., organic), paid search (e.g., cpc), referring sites (referral), email (e.g., email, when you explicitly identify that as the campaign medium), or the user entering the URL or reaching it from a bookmark (direct).

You can use Custom Campaigns to tag links with your own custom values for Campaign, Keyword, Source, and Medium.