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GA assigning whole traffic to "Referral" channel from Shopify store

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all, 


We have an issue with GA tracking on one E-commerce site, we've noticed that a lot of purchases are getting assigned to the 'referrals' section even when they shouldn't and we suspect that a lot of UTM tags are not even being tracked (for example from email channel).
For example there is "" in the referral section that is getting purchases tracked taking most of the revenue, and plenty of it's referral path look like this: "/admin/collections/189762564".
It seems like most of the product purchases are getting assigned to the referral section via it's master collection path and nowhere else?

That site is using Shopify's native implementation (from "Online Store" -> "Preferences" section) but it was also tested with the tracking implemented directly inside of the Theme. 

Also we removed all the other tracking codes that could have affected that, we checked it with Google's tool to verify if the implementation was properly done and there were no issue with that. We do not use Enhanced Ecommerce. None of this helped.


After a lot of back and forth with Shopify's support they admitted that there is a discrepancy between their tracking and GA tracking but they can't do anything as the way GA is tracking their data is different than theirs. 


Below you can find a final response from the Shopify support:

I've been spending a fair amount of time dedicating myself to this issue and have been observing the flow of data between Google Analytics and Shopify on not just your own, but a few different stores. Along the way I gathered the assistance of a few of my colleagues within Shopify to help break down the data and the disparities that seemed to be popping up between our platform and Google's.


What it ended up coming down to, after much trial and error, is that Shopify does not have much measure of control over the cataloguing and interpretation of data that Google scrapes from accounts that use our GA integration - the integration itself is actually quite simple, the account tag entered into our system via preferences is reinterpreted as a tracking code, and embedded into your store pages automatically, as opposed to taking the traditional analytics tracking metatags given by Google and manually embedding them one by one in your theme's header, product pages, cart page, and checkout page for conversion tracking. Aside from the copy and paste aspect of tag entry onto pages, everything else as far as data interpretation goes is handled by Google's Analytics platform algorithms. Beyond indicating that "this is a product page" (or whatever sort of page the tag is on), we can't actually tell Google's system how to sort or catalog data associated with that tag, such as conversion information or any related traffic information.


This can cause some disparities in analysis, such as cases where our platform will interpret certain traffic/conversion as Ad/Social traffic accurately, but Google will scrape info from one of our pages and interpret the same conversion event as "Direct" instead. This appears to be what's happening as your page - Shopify is coming to the correct conclusions about your traffic, sales, and conversion, but Google is scraping the same info and recategorizing it based on their own rulesets and filtering parameters.


We tested the use of Google Analytics in the traditional format as opposed to the use of our integration (ie manual embedding of metatags in theme files) and found this did not have any affect on the categorization of flow of data from the test store to the associated Google Analytics account. Regardless of the method used, Google Analytics was interpreting data the same way, so the conclusion was that the tag integration we have was not broken or otherwise altering the data being transferred to Google.


Ultimately what it came down to was that we can see that disparities exist between our own analysis of traffic and conversion data and Google's analysis of the same, but it's not one that we can fix since we have no control or involvement in Google's data analysis process - it's almost like a difference in opinion, and we can't fix theirs to match ours. It is possible to have these disparities looked into and possibly resolved, but it would have to come from the direct involvement of the Google Support team investigating the data they are taking for a given site and explaining why they are choosing to categorize it as they are.


I appreciate your patience with this ordeal as we went through the motions of investigating the integration - Google Analytics is a very tricky and sometimes unpredictable service that took many different test runs with a few different test stores to achieve solid conclusions with. Earlier on I had gotten indications from higher support that the integration was solid but we could not directly affect the categorization of data on the GA side of the process, but I wanted to ensure that everything was tested for the sake of your concern.

This is something that is actually quite a big issue for us as it happens on multiple of our Shopify customers when 90% of the revenue goes into "Referral" channel and as we are a SaaS company being able to properly track particular channels is important for us.

I hope anyone here can provide some solution to this issue.




1 Expert replyverified_user

GA assigning whole traffic to "Referral" channel from Shopify store

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Igor S


As the payment is processed at Shopify's website, you need to add a referral exclusion for,, and You can follow the process below to do it -


  1. Sign in to your Analytics account.
  2. Click Admin.
  3. In the ACCOUNT column, use the dropdown to select the Analytics account that contains the property you want to work with.
  4. In the PROPERTY column, use the dropdown to select a property.
  5. Click Tracking Info.
  6. Click Referral Exclusion List.
  7. To add a domain, click +ADD REFERRAL EXCLUSION.
  8. Enter the Domain name.
  9. Click Create to save.


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