How Are Traffic Sources Mapped Into Default Channels?

How are traffic sources mapped into default channels on the web analytics dashboard?

In Usermaven, understanding how traffic sources are mapped into default channels is crucial for analyzing user engagement and conversion. In this document, we'll delve into the default channel mappings and how data is categorized into each channel for effective analysis.

Default channel mappings overview

The default channel mappings in Usermaven serve as predefined categories for organizing incoming traffic data. Understanding these channels helps you see where your visitors are coming from and how they interact with your site. Similar to custom channels, these default mappings prioritize different sources of traffic, ranging from paid search to direct visits.

Priority order

Channels are evaluated in a specific order of priority, starting with organic search, followed bydirect, paid search, and so on, until other campaigns and emails. If a user has custom channels, they take precedence over default ones.

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Understanding medium

Before delving deeper, let's clarify the term "medium" which is used interchangeably with "channel" in this context. In Usermaven, "medium" refers to the channel through which traffic is sourced. For instance, UTM medium signifies the URL parameter associated with a particular channel.

Mapping process

The process of mapping traffic to default channels involves matching the medium of incoming traffic to predefined criteria. Let's break down this process for each default channel:

  1. Organic search: These are visitors who found your site through a search engine but didn't click on a paid ad.

  2. Direct: These are visitors who typed your website address directly into their browser or clicked a bookmark. Moreover, if neither UTMs nor referral data exist, the traffic is considered direct.

  3. Paid search: These are visitors who came from paid search engine ads (like Google Ads).Traffic is categorized as paid search if the UTM medium matches predefined criteria such as search-related parameters or specific search engine URLs.

  4. Referral: Referral traffic is determined when a user arrives at your website via non-ad links from other websites or apps.

  5. Organic social: Organic social traffic includes visitors who came from social media posts (but not paid ads).

  6. Other campaigns: Any traffic not falling under the above categories but having UTM medium, source, or campaign parameters is classified as other campaigns (like affiliate marketing).

  7. Email: Traffic categorized as email includes sources tagged with email-related parameters such as medium, source, or campaign identifiers. These are basically the visitors who clicked on a link in an email you sent.

  8. Display ads: These are visitors who clicked on banner ads displayed on other websites.

  9. Paid social: Incoming traffic qualifies as paid social if it originates from visitors who came from paid social media ads (like Facebook Ads).

How Usermaven categorizes traffic?

Usermaven uses a set of rules to assign traffic to a specific channel. These rules consider information like the website address a visitor came from and special codes in the website address (UTM parameters). Here's a simplified breakdown of the process:

  • User-defined channels (priority): If you've set up custom channels in Usermaven, those take priority.

  • Paid search: Usermaven checks for signs of paid search traffic, like specific keywords or codes in the website address.

  • Paid social: Similar to paid search, Usermaven looks for clues that the visitor came from a paid social media ad.

  • Other channels: Usermaven goes through the remaining channels one by one, checking for UTM parameters or website address clues.

  • Direct: If none of the above rules apply, the visitor is categorized as direct traffic.


Understanding how traffic sources are mapped into default channels is essential for effective analysis and optimization of user engagement strategies in Usermaven. By categorizing incoming traffic accurately, businesses can gain insights into the effectiveness of various marketing channels and make informed decisions to enhance their digital presence.