Solution: Referral and Direct Traffic Data Disappeared in Analytics (Before 25th July 2013)


Hey Guys!

Welcome back, this is just a quick one as we knew it wouldn’t just be us having this problem.

So recently we were doing our end of month client SEO & performance reports when we noticed something strange, the referral data and direct traffic was missing and had disappeared from analytics from before 25th July 2013 and doesn’t appear in the Acquisition section. Try it, just compare September to September 2012. Google just shows a yellow error box saying “Channel data is not available prior to July 25 2013”. It seems this has happened since the new updates that Google rolled out on it’s 15th birthday including Hummingbird.

Missing referral data from Google Analytics

Missing direct traffic data before July 25th

How to get the Google Analytics referral traffic data back!

So I’ve worked out a way in the mean time to get this data back with a nice little work around! Let’s start.

1) Login to Analytics

First up login and load your analytics profile (or View) for the account you want referral data for.

Navigate to Acquisition -> All Traffic

Setup segments in analytics

2) Setup your advanced segment for referral & direct traffic data

Click the little drop down arrow at the top left, see screengrab. Analytics sometimes doesn’t make their user interface too obvious. This is the new UI for the “Advanced Segments” which we will be taking advantage of. Drag the “Referral traffic” segment profile to the “Active segments” section. Make sure you remove the “All Traffic” segment and click “Apply”.

Missing data in analytics
Analytics referral data gone
Analytics direct traffic data gone

3) You’re done!


You’re now looking at your lost referral traffic before 25th of July that Google for unknown reasons removed, we’re guessing it was to do with the way they were tracking data before then in their database structure.

You can now play around and switch it for “Direct traffic” as below.


If you have any questions leave a comment or tweet me @PrettyKlicks

Also if you found this useful join our mailing list right away:

-Stefan Pretty

Posted in SEO, Tips & Tricks | 4 Comments
By |
Jared Hellman
Jared Hellman

Hey guys - all acquisition traffic prior to 7/25 still registering as (not set).  Am I missing a step?


this solution does not work for me as all the previous advanced segment channels are missing data. Changing the view does not bring back the data!

prettyklicks moderator

@kevinpike That's strange, we used this for our reporting this month, however we did note some missing data but for the most part the discrepancy was small. Can you provide more info on the problem?

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