Here's a little riddle for those of you who are tech savvy and know their way around Google Analytics. December 2014 I spoke with the CEO of an agency who told me he was seeing new visits directly landing on his clients thankyou pages.
There are a few cases where this could happen:
People try to order a product, go to their banks' site, wait for more than 30 minutes causing the Google Analytics session to end, pay and return to your site. This will generate a landing on a thankyou page, but from a returning visitor in stead of a new one.
People have software in place that erases any cookies from a site as soon as people leave them. After returning back from the payment provider they will be seen as a new visitor, but with the source "direct / none" or "bankdomain.tld / referral". So not as "google / organic" or "google / cpc".
Take a look at this screenshot:
How on earth is this possible. It looks like people land directly from the Google search results onto the thankyou page. The facts:
The thankyou page is not indexed in Google.
All 10 of those visitors generated an ecommerce transaction, so they where real visitors.
If their cookies where lost or reset their source would be "direct", so they must have been on the site before.
I also analyzed date ranges with less than 500k sessions, that will rule out sampling.
According to this table people searched in Google, landed on the thankyou page and immediately purchased a product. Although that would be nice if you own a webshop 😉 it's not right.
Who can shed some light upon this? It seems like there was an update on Google's side, in December I could generate more examples than I could this morning...? Do you see the same strange data when you search for your thankyou page in the Landingpage report?