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Dive into multiple domain (Cross/Sub) tracking, implementing Ecommerce and Enhanced Ecommerce, setting up Event tracking, and Universal Analytics code.
 
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Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi All,

 

i'm trying to fix a website GA tracking which consists of 2 different domains (one of them involves hundreds of subdomains). There was previously implemented GA code without any cross-domain/subdomain tracking set and while users are often moving between (sub)domains huge amount of traffic was tracked as self-referral. After moving tracking code to GTM and setting "allowlinker" to "true" and "cookieDomain"  to "auto", self-referrals decreased significantly, but still remaining about 20% of traffic attributed to self-referral. I found out that all these visits are returning visitors (users returns regularly to website on about once a week basis). I presume these self-referrals are users previously (when cross-domain tracking was not set) attributed to self-referral and now returning directly.

 

Is there any option how to force Google Analytics not to take into consideration previously stored user cookies?

 

I did some testing with changing cookieName, cookiePath, Tracker name (all in GTM) but nothing helped. The next test was with implementing totally new Google Analytics tracker, but there are still self-referral and what is more, i can see all these are returning visitors from the very first moment after new GA tracker implementation. How is possible there are new users to totally clear GA account?

 

Thanks for any advice.

Milos

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
I'm assuming that Universal analytics.js is being used.
Are both the 2 different domains on the Referral Exclusion List for the GA Property?
Bronwyn Vourtis, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Re: Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Bronwyn,
yes Universal Analytics is being used and both domains are excluded in referral exclusion list.

Re: Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
In my opinion you cannot do much about it because cookies that define whether user is assigned to "New" or "Returning" contain information about domain and are stored on the users side.
So unless GA cookie expires or is removed on user's side you'll still see "Returning" visitor regardless of property (old/new) as long as those properties are created for the same domain.

Re: Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Olgierd,

do you think this could be the case also when i'm setting different (than originally used) cookie name and cookie path? I would expect GA won't find cookie defined this way and thus the visit being new. But thats just my assumption and i also think my only option right now is to wait until all cookies expire.
Thanks

Re: Returning visitors tracked also in new GA property

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Hi Miloš,

I think that changing cookie name and cookie path won't do much good in this case. It's because GA would still look for _ga cookie in user's browser. If it finds one it will use it regardless of your cookie setting.