During the English Google SEO Office-Hours From November 26, 2021, Google’s John Mueller addressed a question in an area he wasn’t too familiar with: Google Analytics, particularly having to do with a direct traffic spike:
“ In Google Analytics, our organic traffic, sometimes a huge amount of traffic starts dropping into the direct channel. What could be the reasons behind this?”
John’s response was:
“So on the one hand, I don't know that much about Google Analytics, so I can't give you detailed information on what specifically is happening there.
“But one of the things that could be playing a role is Google Discover. In particular, Google Discover, I think, is mostly seen as direct traffic in Google Analytics.
“And Google Discover is sometimes very binary, in the sense that it's either you get a lot of traffic, or you don't get a lot of traffic from Google Discover. So that could be something where, if you're just looking at Analytics, you might see those spikes kind of happening there.
“ In Search Console, there's a separate report for Google Discover. So you could double-check in Search Console and see: is there something happening with Google Discover or not? ”
One thing I'd add is that, in Analytics, if you see a spike in direct traffic, there's an anomaly feature that may provide some insight.