Where To Find Traffic From Image Search In Google Analytics

finding visits from image search is like herding cats

Trying to rope up traffic from image search is like trying to nail jello to a tree. To keep us on our toes, Google moved its image search engine from images.google.com to google.com in May 2010, then apparently moved image search from referral reports to organic reports in July 2011. (You can keep abreast of all kinds of changes like this in my SEO Google calendar.)

*Hat tip to AJ Kohn for the discovering that image search moved to organic in July last year.

So I wrote off tracking visits from image search. But then I started noticing an uptick in traffic from image search from various search engines — across different clients and industries, as you can see from these screenshots:

rise and fall of image search traffic

Notice a pattern?

So I created a custom report to capture whatever we can from image search referrals. You can modify the report to fit your needs.

Note: I couldn’t find Bing in reports from any client profiles, even very large ones. So I reached out to Duane Forrester, who confirmed image search is enmeshed into organic, not referral traffic. So can’t segment it because there’s no referral path dimension in GA for organic sources. (If you didn’t understand that last sentence don’t worry about it.)

 Note on image credit: This image has been copied so many times I can’t find the image credit for the original image. If you are the image owner, contact me at annie(at)annielytics.com, and I will happily give you credit or remove the image.
Image update: It’s from this YouTube video. Hat tip to Paul Thompson for letting me know in the comments below!
  • http://twitter.com/AnalyticsNinja Yehoshua Coren

    Splitting up Bing image vs. organic should be doable with filters in GA. I checked document.referrer on clicks to a few sites… Unless I’m missing something?

    • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

      I’m not a fan of profile filters. Is it possible with the filters that are offered in custom reports? If you write a post on how to set that up w/ profile filters I’ll link to it from my post though b/c now you have me curious. :)

      • http://www.ajazmirza.com/ Ajaz Mirza

        Nice post Annie, but according to AJ Kohn’s latest post, with profile filters “keywords” data also gets tracked in Google Analytics. Though, this Custom Report is also great, if you are not stressing on keywords data. Also, I’ve edited the custom report and added “Landing Page” as another dimension, just to provide an additional dimension to dig down into. You can look at the new report at https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=qGWiA5lPReG_KBOlrFS4SA

  • http://twitter.com/thompsonpaul Paul Thompson

    Hey Annie – just thought I’d let ya know…

    The herding cats image is a still from an EDS Superbowl commercial in 2000. The commercial was actually brilliantly done and worth a watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MaJDK3VNE

    And thanks for the image search info!

    • http://www.annielytics.com/ Annie Cushing

      Oh haha! I never saw that before! Thanks for the head’s up.

  • http://twitter.com/kernmedia Dan Kern

    Hey Annie, it looks like Google Image search traffic is tanking as of late January 2013 for all the sites I manage. Perhaps Google Analytics is now tracking Google Image Search traffic differently now? Have you heard anything?

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