What Direct, Branded, and Discovery Really Mean in Google My Business Insights

May 2019 Update: Google My Business isn’t showing data from voice searches. Click this link to learn more.

Platform: Google My Business
Feature: Insights
What: Definition of metrics used (Direct, Branded, Discovery)

A thread on the Local Search Forum, a place where local SEOs gather to share information, discussed an aggravating lack of definition on what the metrics in Google My Business’ Insights section really mean. The thread appears to offer a definitive solution to a debate that has been quietly raging in the industry over what types of traffic / search queries are included in the metrics Direct, Branded, and Discovery.

Defining the Google My Business Insights Queries

Joy Hawkins—a member of Local Search Forum and Google Product Expert—writes, “Great news – I met with the team at Google yesterday and we talked a lot about Insights and I finally got clarification on branded searches in GMB Insights. Up to this point, every explanation I’ve read online is incorrect so it’s important to pay attention here. I ran several scenarios by Google and got the answer that makes sense and matches all the data I’ve seen in my GMB listings.”

Joy Hawkins goes on to define Direct, Branded, and Discovery queries.

She writes, “Direct searches are searches for your specific location that return a Knowledge Panel.” For example, let’s say your name is Bob Smith and you own a clothing store named Best Clothes. Searching “Bob Smith Best Clothes” is a Direct search that will return a knowledge panel (phone number, map, address) in results.

Branded searches return results for brands. For example, searching “McDonald’s near me” will return a 3-pack showing all of the McDonald’s locations nearby. Another example of a branded search is the search “coffee near me”.

Discovery searches return results for information about a product or service. For example, searching for “coffee return results for Starbucks Coffee, Dunkin, and Peet’s Coffee, among others.

Google My Business Insights

According to Google, “Insights give you an inside look at how people find your business listing on the web. Because many customers find businesses on Google Search and Maps, Insights focuses on how customers use Search and Maps to find your listing, and what they do once they find it. You can get Insights for individual listings or in bulk.”

Take a look at my Business Insights visualization. This shows the percentages of Direct, Branded, and Discovery searches I receive in the form of a circular pie chart. Make sure you check your own Business Insights area to see how people are searching for your business.

Featured photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels

Insights photo is a screenshot by Gain Local