How The Guardian is using analytics to make sense of ‘dark traffic’

“Dark traffic” — referrals to a website from undetermined sources — is a growing concern for many publishers, but The Guardian developed an in-house analytics tool called Ophan to help make sense of dark traffic. Ophan measures reader behavior in real-time, and can infer the source of some dark traffic based on the referral patterns on individual articles. For example, Lucinda Southern writes: “If … it sees a lot of Reddit and a lot of unknown sources, it can infer that a chunk of the latter is from various Reddit apps on mobile that don’t have referral links.”