Google Analytics Direct Traffic Report can be found within the Traffic Sources tab of the interface. The report is essential to those interested in generating more traffic to their site because it lets users know how visitors are coming to their site.
In theory, Direct Traffic only includes visitors who directly typed or cut and pasted your URL into their browser, or have bookmarked your site. However, in practice, your direct traffic volume could be artificially inflated due to improper tagging on email marketing campaigns, self referrals, redirects and banners.
An easy way to tell if your direct traffic volumes are suffering from artificial inflation is to drill down into the Direct Traffic Report. Simply go to the 'Dimension' drop down box and select 'Landing Page'.
You'll notice that although the majority of direct traffic is landing on the homepage a fair whack of direct traffic is landing deep within the website. Although it's possible that visitors are remembering the landing page extensions, it's highly unlikely especially considering the length of some of the extensions. This would indicate that someone is clicking in from somewhere rather than constituting direct traffic.
It really shouldn't be too hard to fix this problem, just ensure that any banner ads or email campaigns containing links are correctly tagged for analytics.
Another useful way to clean up your direct traffic report is to look at the keywords visitors are coming in on when using search engines. If your domain name or even company is popping up as a keyword you should really have it redirected as direct traffic.
Once Google Analytics Direct Traffic Report is collecting clean data you can gain some actionable insights into the effectiveness of your offline marketing efforts in driving traffic to your site.
To get a reasonable idea of the effectiveness of your offline campaigns simply view your direct traffic stats across the time period of the campaign. Hopefully you'll notice a spike in direct traffic when running a radio, TV, print, or direct mail campaign (as long as you remember to mention your website in the advertisement). If you've used a unique domain name for your campaign, check your results for that name.
Direct traffic also provides a good indication of your brand recall in the market. If a decent proportion of visitors are remembering your domain name or even using your company name as a keyword you could assume a high level of brand recall.