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What is Not Considered a Default Medium in Google Analytics?

In the world of digital marketing, understanding website traffic is essential for optimizing marketing strategies and driving business growth. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into website traffic sources. It categorizes traffic into default mediums, which are predefined categories of traffic sources such as search engine, referral, direct, social, and email. These default mediums help marketers attribute website traffic to specific marketing campaigns and understand the effectiveness of their efforts. However, there are also non-default mediums that can significantly impact data analysis and marketing strategies. In this blog post, we will explore what is not considered a default medium in Google Analytics and the implications of ignoring these non-default mediums. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Default Mediums in Google Analytics

To fully grasp the concept of non-default mediums, it’s important to first understand default mediums in Google Analytics. Default mediums are predefined categories of traffic sources that are determined based on the source of traffic. They help attribute website traffic to specific marketing campaigns, enabling marketers to analyze the impact of various marketing efforts. The default mediums in Google Analytics include search engine, referral, direct, social, and email. Each of these default mediums represents a different type of traffic source, providing valuable insights into how users find and interact with your website.

Defining Default Mediums

Default mediums, in the context of Google Analytics, refer to the traffic source categories that are automatically attributed to website traffic. When a user visits a website, the source of their visit is categorized by Google Analytics based on parameters such as the referral URL, browser, email, bookmark, or organic search results. Default mediums are powerful tools for marketing strategies as they allow marketers to track the effectiveness of various traffic sources and measure the success of different marketing campaigns.

Common Examples of Default Mediums

  • Organic search: This default medium represents traffic from search engine results. It indicates that users found the website by searching for relevant keywords in a search engine.
  • Referral: Referral traffic refers to users who clicked on a link to the website from another website, such as a blog post or social media platform.
  • Direct: Direct traffic represents visitors who typed the website URL directly into their browser or used a bookmark to visit the website.
  • Social: This default medium includes traffic from social media platforms, indicating that users arrived at the website through social media channels.
  • Email: Email traffic includes visitors who clicked on a link in an email marketing campaign to access the website.
  • These default mediums showcase diverse traffic sources, providing marketers with valuable data for analysis and optimization of marketing strategies.

The Misconceptions Surrounding Non-Default Mediums

While default mediums in Google Analytics offer valuable insights, there are often misconceptions surrounding the exclusion of non-default mediums in marketing strategies. Non-default mediums encompass traffic sources that are not predefined by Google Analytics. These could include advertising traffic with custom parameters, affiliate marketing efforts, offline campaigns, in-app advertising, influencers, and more. Distinguishing non-default mediums from default ones is crucial for accurate data analysis and understanding the complete picture of website traffic sources.

Distinguishing Non-Default Mediums from Default Ones

Unlike default mediums, non-default mediums are not predefined by Google Analytics. They encompass traffic sources that require additional customization or tracking beyond the default medium categories. Non-default mediums go beyond the common traffic sources classified by Google Analytics and can include advertising traffic with utm parameters, affiliate marketing efforts, offline campaigns, and in-app advertising, among others. Properly categorizing and tracking non-default mediums is vital for accurate data analysis and comprehensive marketing strategies.

Implications of Misinterpreting Non-Default Mediums

Misinterpreting non-default mediums can have significant implications for marketing campaigns and data analysis. Incorrectly identifying or categorizing non-default mediums can result in skewed traffic source metrics, leading to inaccurate analysis of marketing efforts. This, in turn, can impact ROI measurement, keyword analysis, influencer identification, and overall campaign effectiveness. Understanding and accurately categorizing non-default mediums are essential for effective marketing campaigns and data-driven decision-making.

The Unusual Suspects: Non-Default Mediums in Google Analytics

While default mediums capture a wide range of traffic sources, non-default mediums often play a crucial role in marketing efforts. They represent traffic sources that are not part of Google Analytics’ standard categories, extending the scope of website traffic analysis. In this section, we will explore some of the notable non-default mediums, including affiliate marketing, offline campaigns, in-app advertising, and influencer marketing, and how they contribute to a comprehensive understanding of website traffic.

Affiliate Marketing as a Non-Default Medium

Affiliate marketing is one of the non-default mediums that marketers leverage to drive website traffic. It involves collaborating with affiliates who promote products or services, earning a commission for each referral. Capturing traffic from affiliate marketing efforts requires specific tracking methods beyond Google Analytics’ default medium categories. Accurately categorizing affiliate marketing traffic aids in data analysis, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of non-default medium strategies.

Offline Campaigns and Their Role as Non-Default Mediums

While digital marketing strategies often rely on online channels, offline campaigns can generate significant website traffic, making them non-default mediums. Properly categorizing traffic from offline campaigns is essential for accurate analysis of traffic sources. Non-default medium metrics provide insights into the success of offline marketing efforts, allowing marketers to measure their impact and adjust strategies accordingly. By understanding offline campaigns as non-default mediums, marketers can gain a comprehensive view of their website traffic.

In-app Advertising – Beyond the Default Scope

In-app advertising is another example of a non-default medium that extends beyond Google Analytics’ default categories. Mobile apps provide a unique traffic source, and capturing this data requires customization in analytics. Accurately tracking in-app advertising traffic and analyzing the metrics associated with this non-default medium provide valuable insights for traffic source analysis and marketing strategies. Understanding in-app advertising as a non-default medium enhances data analysis and optimization of marketing efforts.

Influencer Marketing: The New Age Non-Default Medium

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for driving website traffic, especially through social media platforms. It involves collaborating with influencers to promote products or services to their followers. By leveraging their social media platforms, influencers can direct referral traffic to websites, expanding their reach beyond organic search, referral, direct, and social default mediums. Understanding influencer marketing as a non-default medium allows marketers to tap into the audience of influencers, increasing website traffic and enhancing data analysis.

How to Track Non-Default Mediums Effectively

To effectively track non-default mediums in Google Analytics, marketers can utilize various strategies and tools. One way is by leveraging UTM parameters, which help identify referral traffic from non-default mediums. UTM parameters allow marketers to attribute traffic source based on custom campaigns, providing precise data analysis of marketing efforts. Additionally, third-party tools offer comprehensive tracking abilities and provide additional metrics for evaluating marketing strategies beyond Google Analytics’ default categories. Utilizing these strategies and tools ensures accurate analysis of non-default medium data and enhances traffic source insights.

Leveraging UTM Parameters for Non-Default Mediums

UTM parameters play a crucial role in tracking non-default mediums effectively. They allow marketers to differentiate traffic source beyond default mediums, providing valuable data for analysis. By using custom campaigns with UTM parameters, marketers can attribute traffic to specific marketing efforts, helping identify the impact of different non-default medium strategies. Leveraging UTM parameters enables precise data analysis, customization of traffic source metrics, and optimization of marketing campaigns beyond default categories in Google Analytics.

Third-Party Tools for Comprehensive Tracking

In addition to UTM parameters, marketers can also utilize third-party tools for comprehensive tracking of non-default medium data. These tools offer powerful features and metrics that go beyond Google Analytics’ default categories, allowing for a more in-depth analysis of referral traffic. Third-party tools provide additional insights into the impact of influencers, advertising efforts, and other non-default medium sources. By leveraging these tools, marketers can ensure a comprehensive analysis of website traffic sources and make data-driven marketing decisions.

Making the Most of Non-Default Medium Data

Collecting data from non-default mediums is only the first step. To extract meaningful insights and optimize marketing strategies, it’s essential to make the most of this data. In this section, we will explore how marketers can effectively analyze non-default medium data, create custom reports, evaluate campaign effectiveness, and understand the impact of non-default mediums on data interpretation.

Creating Custom Reports to Analyze Traffic

Custom reports in Google Analytics are powerful tools for analyzing non-default medium data. By creating custom reports, marketers can delve into the performance of marketing campaigns and assess traffic sources beyond default mediums. These reports provide valuable data for optimizing marketing strategies, identifying trends, and understanding the impact of non-default mediums on website traffic. Analyzing traffic source data through custom reports is crucial for effective data interpretation and informed decision-making.

Evaluating Campaign Effectiveness Based on Non-Default Medium Data

Evaluating campaign effectiveness requires analyzing traffic data from non-default mediums. By considering traffic from these sources, marketers can determine the impact of marketing efforts beyond default medium categories. Evaluating campaign effectiveness based on non-default medium data ensures informed decision-making and allows for targeted adjustments in marketing strategies to improve traffic source results. Non-default medium data analysis is integral for refining marketing campaigns and maximizing return on investment (ROI).

The Impact of Non-Default Mediums on Data Interpretation

Accurate data interpretation is crucial for understanding website traffic and optimizing marketing strategies. Including non-default medium data in data analysis can have both benefits and drawbacks, which we will explore in this section. Understanding the implications of including non-default medium data and the potential challenges associated with it is vital for effective data analysis and decision-making.

The Pros and Cons of Including Non-Default Mediums in Analysis

Incorporating non-default medium data offers a nuanced understanding of website traffic sources, providing insights into the effectiveness of marketing strategies across diverse traffic sources. However, analyzing non-default medium data requires additional customization in analytics, which can be time-consuming. Marketers need to carefully weigh the benefits of including non-default medium data against the effort required for customization. Balancing the pros and cons of non-default medium analysis is essential for accurate data analysis and optimization of marketing efforts.

Case Studies Illustrating the Impact of Non-Default Mediums

To illustrate the impact of non-default mediums on website traffic, let’s look at some case studies:

  • Case Study 1: A clothing brand collaborated with influencers on social media, resulting in a significant increase in referral traffic.
  • Case Study 2: An online retailer implemented an affiliate marketing program, driving a substantial amount of traffic and increasing sales.
  • Case Study 3: A tourist destination ran offline campaigns in different cities, leading to a surge in website traffic from non-default mediums such as direct and referral.
  • These case studies demonstrate how non-default mediums can contribute to the success of marketing efforts and provide valuable insights for data analysis.

How Can Ignoring Non-Default Mediums Skew Your Google Analytics Data?

Ignoring non-default mediums can have significant consequences on data interpretation in Google Analytics. Non-default mediums encompass traffic sources that are not classified as organic or direct, providing valuable information about how users find a website. By ignoring these non-default mediums, marketers may miss out on vital data points, leading to skewed data and inaccurate insights. It is essential to properly track and analyze all traffic sources, including non-default mediums, to ensure informed business decisions and accurate data analysis.


In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the role of default and non-default mediums in Google Analytics. Default mediums provide valuable insights into the sources of traffic, while non-default mediums add another layer of understanding to your data. By properly tracking and analyzing non-default mediums, you can gain a deeper understanding of your marketing efforts and make more informed decisions. Utilizing UTM parameters and third-party tools can help you track non-default mediums effectively. Additionally, creating custom reports and evaluating campaign effectiveness based on non-default medium data can provide valuable insights into your marketing performance. Ignoring non-default mediums can lead to skewed data interpretation and hinder your ability to optimize your marketing strategies. Therefore, it is essential to consider both default and non-default mediums when analyzing your Google Analytics data.


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