I have been notified by several webmasters and in several discussion threads that some webmasters are noticing huge spikes in their direct traffic between July 6th and today. As each webmaster analyzed the traffic, the source came from users using Internet Explorer 7.
I am personally unable to see the direct traffic spike in the Google Analytics profiles I checked this morning but there are enough widespread reports of this to bring it to your attention.
Each report the same thing, here is one such report:
I've seen a sudden and drastic increase in Direct Traffic over the last 2 weeks, all of it originating from North America (though spread between cities much as we would expect - just with higher numbers), all of it from Desktop - Windows machines and almost all of it, through IE7.
And well, it's ruining my data and causing me sleepless nights, in two weeks new users from North America are up 1800% and sessions up 1200%, bounce rate for the region is up to 98%, sessions from individual cities are up between 50% and 2000% (new users on IE7 in the region are up 15,875% and the average session time is down to 1 second, that can't be right!).
Any ideas as to what might be causing this? There's no crossover with any marketing activity and even if there was this is data out of the ordinary and non campaign linked. I'm worried this is something untoward, if so, how can I track it down?
I have sent the details to Google to ask them if there is an issue with Google Analytics or something else going on. I have not yet heard back.
There have been issues like this in the past, most of it goes without question.
Update: AdRoll is to blame here, learn more about this over here.