Which Sources Are Available In Google Analytics?

Which Sources Are Available In Google Analytics

I know that running a website can be a difficult task. Lots of effort and work goes into running a successful website. Therefore, it becomes necessary for you to take steps to analyze the performance of your website. This is why you need to know which sources are available in Google Analytics.

If you wish to know the same, then you should give this article a read. Here, you will learn what are sources in Google Analytics, along with how to analyze them. I guarantee that after reading this article, you will be a better Google Analytics user.

What Are Sources In Google Analytics?

What Are Sources In Google Analytics

If your website is active, there is a likelihood that it is getting some traffic, however minimal.

Google Analytics refers to the websites that send traffic to your websites as “sources.” The traffic can come from searches, social media, other websites, etc.

For information on which traffic source is doing better, you can periodically check your source/medium dashboard.

You receive suggestions for improving conversion rates and user experiences, which you may apply to increase conversion.

Google Analytics Sources, Mediums, And Channels

If you visit a website, “Google Analytics (usually automatically) attributes a source and medium. A source is defined as the specific origin of your traffic. Examples of sources are facebook, linkedin, pinterest, google, yahoo, bing, yelp, yellowpages, bbb, and more. A medium is the category of the source.”


“Once Google receives a source and a medium, it places the traffic in an even larger category, called a channel. Examples of channels are: email, social, organic, referral and direct.”

“As I said before, Google will always give a source and a medium to your traffic, however if that source and medium doesn’t fall into one of their predefined channels, Google classified, Google classifies it as (other).”

DirectSource exactly matches direct, and
 Medium exactly matches (not set), or
 Medium exactly matches (none)
Organic SearchMedium exactly matches organic
SocialSocial source referral matches Yes, or
 Medium matches regex
ReferralMedium exactly matches referral
AffiliatesMedium exactly matches affiliate
EmailMedium exactly matches email
Paid SearchMedium matches regex, and
 Ad Distribution Network does not exactly match content
Other AdvertisingMedium matches regex
DisplayMedium matches regex, or
 Ad Distribution Network exactly matches content

What’s The Difference Between Sources And Mediums In Google Analytics?

What’s The Difference Between Sources And Mediums In Google Analytics

Since the terms in Google Analytics are related to the traffic and referral to your website, they are sometimes misunderstood to indicate the same thing.

The “medium” of your traffic in Google Analytics refers specifically to the type of sources you are using, even though they are strongly related to the traffic to your website. In the case of organic search, the instances and your sources within that category could be Google, Baidu, Bing, etc.

How Do You Properly Categorize Your Source And Medium To Avoid Getting (Other)?

“One of the most common reasons traffic gets attributed to (other) is because the source or medium is capitalized because it’s the easiest way to keep everything consistent. It also makes it easier to pass off UTM coding to someone else in your absence.”

  • Facebook
  • Organic

“Google will also categorize your traffic as (other) if the medium is not part of their system-defined channel groupings. Examples of mediums not included in Google’s channels groupings are:”

  • Offline
  • Boosted
  • Paid

“If you decide you want to use these mediums but avoid the (other), have a Google Analytcs expert modify your channels before you deviate from Google’s rules.”

Which Sources Are Available In Google Analytics?

If you wish to know which sources are available in Google Analytics, then some of their broad types are:

1. Search Engines

Search Engines

This is a reference to search engine-specific traffic. You will know what types of purchasing paths your customers and audiences are following.

Google logs the source of the traffic with the “search engine name” when users access your website directly from the search engine result page for the phrase they are looking for.

2. Social Media

Social Media

Google tracks all traffic from social media platforms. Their functions are just like other popular search engines. Therefore, Google screens the traffics which are coming from social, which is true in the case is Facebook.

If your website’s visitors are coming back to back from Facebook. You will know, and according to your report, you can design your next campaigns.

3. Website Referrals

Website Referrals

Google classifies the traffic that comes from other websites, such as, that is directed to your website as referral traffic.‍

One thing to keep in mind is that the phrase “referrals” isn’t what you’ll see on your source tab; instead, you’ll see the URL of the website that’s sending you visitors.

4. Direct Traffic

Direct Traffic

‍Therefore, you might be wondering what kind of traffic source it would be if people typed your website’s URL. You might also wonder what the case would be if users clicked on it from a document on their device.

Google refers to that type of traffic as “direct” traffic.

The “Direct” source indicates to Google that the visitors are either coming from a direct search, a bookmark, or the original website. Here, the visitors coming have little to no information.

You might want to track more traffic sources outside what Google offers. Therefore you are now aware of the various sources available in Google Analytics. What traffic source, for instance, will be used to attribute traffic from your email campaign?

You must construct the source on your own and be able to track other traffic sources because Google isn’t giving you that information, at least not as a default tab of Google Analytics.

Your email campaigns can be one of the traffic sources you add to Google Analytics, which brings us to the next section on how to create custom traffic sources in Google Analytics.

How To Create A Traffic Source In Google Analytics?

How To Create A Traffic Source In Google Analytics

Now that you know which sources are available in Google Analytics, it’s time for you to designate these sources.

To create a traffic source in Google Analytics, you have to include several parameters linked to your website’s landing page. Therefore, you need to create a tracking link to your landing page. This is required because a normal link cannot be used by Google Analytics to track your website sources.

However, before you start, you need to use this developer tool available on this website after filling out the form –

To track sources on Google Analytics, you need to:

  1. Open Google Analytics.
  2. In the unfilled field, provide the URL to the home page or landing page of your website.
  3. In the field campaign source, type “Newsletter
  4. On the field Email Medium, type “Email
  5. Now, you must designate a campaign name in its respective field.

Therefore, in the end, after you are done filling out all the necessary details, Google Analytics will automatically generate your campaign URL. You will be using this URL as the primary medium to track your website sources in Google Analytics.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

SEO specialists and website owners ask several questions on the internet regarding which sources are available in Google Analytics. The answers to some of these questions are:

Q1. What Are Default Sources In Google Analytics?

Ans – Some of the most common default sources in Google Analytics that most users deal with are:
• Search Engines like Google and Bing.
• Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
• Website referrals like CNN and New York Times.

Q2. What Are Some Examples Of Data Google Analytics Can Collect?

Ans – Some examples of the various forms of data that Google Analytics can collect are:
• User interactions like the time of visit, average session duration, average pages per session, and lots more.
• Referral websites that the users have accessed beforehand to reach your website.
• The type and version of web browsers used by the user to access your website.
• The platform iof type of device used by the customers, along with its operating system and its version used.

Q3. Is Email A Source In Google Analytics?

Ans – Yes, emails can be a source in Google analytics. This is because many companies conduct email marketing. When customers click on the links to theory websites presented in the email, they will be redirected. Here, Google Analytics will record the emails as a source of traffic.

Q4. Is Google Analytics Only For Websites?

Ans – Google Analytics is primarily used for tracking the performance and analytical information of your websites. However, you can also use it to track the analytical performance of your applications as well.

Final Take Away

By now, you should know which sources are available in Google Analytics. Hence some of the most common sources that we get to see in Google Analytics are search engines, social media posts, referral websites, and direct traffic.

Hence it’s pretty important for website owners to know which promotional strategies are working in their favor. By learning how users enter the landing page of your website, you can review your marketing strategies accordingly.


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Debamalya Mukherjee
Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than three years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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