Shopify Checkout Domain Changes Causes Incorrect Attribution of Sales

This is an off topic blog as I usually do not write anything related to my work but I wanted to help my brothers who work with Google analytics and/or Shopify.

So we have a Shopify website for a new business and almost all its sales are generated through Pay Per Click Ads. However, from 25 July 2017 onwards, we saw an unusual change in the Google Analytics stats for a Shopify website. From 25 July 2017, we found that our Pay Per Click Ads are not generating any sales and strangely, direct traffic has started performing exceptionally well.

 

On checking this further, we found that GA has started attributing all these sales to direct traffic which are actually getting generated by other sources. I do not like this because as per the current GA stats, it looks like we are just wasting our money on PPC ads as the stats show that PPC is contributing to zero sales. To add a bit of a backstory, I manage Pay Per Click and Google Analytics.

So, I thoroughly checked my Google Analytics to find out if there is any way to change the Attribution Model like we have in AdWords but there is no such option in GA. Then, I thought that may be GA code has been removed from some important page of the website such as the cart page, so a user who moves from cart to checkout is being considered as direct traffic. So I checked the website through the Google Tag Assistant and there also all the tags were perfect. I also discovered that this issue of drop in sales through PPC Ads was not only limited to ecommerce tracking but also includes Goal Conversions.
On checking Google Analytics further, I found that our checkout as well as success pages are appearing as landing pages from direct traffic. This meant that people are directly landing on checkout pages or success pages which was impossible to believe. See screenshot below to know what I’m sayin!

GA Issue in Shopify attribution

Now, I knew that there is some issue with the website and not in analytics.

On researching more about this, I found that Shopify has recently made some changes to the checkout domain.
Read that here.

Earlier the checkout pages of a Shopify website had ‘checkout.shopify.com’ in their URL but now the checkout is occurring on the website’s own domain.

From a non-technical background, I feel that the issue is because the Shopify’s Google Analytics Plugin that we all were using was making some modifications so that Google Analytics does not consider that the user went to some other website when he lands on the checkout pages which are hosted on the domain ‘checkout.shopify.com’.

www.xyz.com/product > www.xyz.com/cart > checkout.shopify.com/1234567/

As of now, I haven’t found any specific and correct solution to this problem.
Until then, I feel that the best possible solution to this issue would be to manually add the GA code on a Shopify website by disabling the Google Analytics plugin.

As per my developer, we should wait for the Shopify to come out with a solution but I like challenges so I will try adding the code manually and will share my results.

I am not sure how much correct I am but I know that to an extent, I am 🙂

 

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