Making sense of Referral Traffic: Treat DuckDuckGo.com with respect

How to track DuckDuckGo search traffic in Google Analytics (or Analytics 360)

Google Analytics knows about forty search engines and automatically classifies them as organic traffic sources. On 13 Jul, 2016 DuckDuckGo search engine served more than 10 mln queries (based on its own public statistics data: https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html). If your website is lucky (well, to be honest, luck has nothing to do with it), some of these search queries will result in visits to your website and give you some business.

DuckDuckGo nicely describes itself as

  • Real Privacy. We don’t track you
  • Smarter Search. Get answers quicker
  • Less Clutter. Fewer ads and reduced spam

We can't really comment on these claims or their benefits, but judging by the numbers alone we can't ignore this search engine anymore. If you examine your Organic traffic source report you won't find duckduckgo as a source! Where you will see the source is in your Referral Traffic report as shown below.

Making_sense_of_Referral_Traffic:_Treat_DuckDuckGo.com_with_respect_image_1

Does this mean Google is not recognising DuckDuckGo as a Search Engine? When we check the relevant Google support page (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2795821?hl=en) which lists 40+ Search Engines, DuckDuckGo's absence confirms it is not recognised as such.

Well, let's fix that!

Here's how to track DuckDuckGo Search Traffic in Google Analytics and Analytics 360 (formerly Google Analytics Premium).

  1. Login to your Google Analytics account
  2. Locate Property, click on Tracking Info and select Organic Search Source
    Making_sense_of_Referral_Traffic:_Treat_DuckDuckGo.com_with_respect_image_2
  3. Click on +Add Search Engine
  4. Fill-in form as shown below
    Making_sense_of_Referral_Traffic:_Treat_DuckDuckGo.com_with_respect_image_3Query Parameter is a required field, however DuckDuckGo does not include the parameter as a referrer for privacy reasons. As a result, it does not really matter what you type in the field.
  5. Click Create and.. well done! That's it.

Alternatively, you could create a filter which will rewrite source and medium dimensions to DuckDuckGo and organic respectively if the referrer contains duckduckgo.com. This will, however, require the filter to be added on every View used for analysis.

Making_sense_of_Referral_Traffic:_Treat_DuckDuckGo.com_with_respect_image_4

Getting ahead in analytics is hard work. Internetrix is an accredited expert in the field, ready to make things easier for you with Google Analytics 360 (formerly Premium). We look forward to hearing from you.

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