You may have noticed a new referral source appearing in your Google Analytics, or an increase in sales from the ‘Referral’ channel. This is a change Shopify made with the launch of the new Shop app, and can be easily fixed.

What is

SHOP by Shopify is a consumer mobile app, aggregating products and experiences from many Shopify merchants. It is heavily integrated with ShopPay, and so Shopify is now directing one-click checkout traffic to the domain instead of

How would SHOP fit into the user journey?

There are two scenarios:

1. Customer is using for checkout and payment
Example journey:
  • User clicks on Facebook Ad
  • Lands on
  • Selects a product
  • Logged in, and directed to for checkout
  • Returns to for order confirmation
In this scenario we should exclude as a referrer, as the original source of the order is really Facebook
2. End customer is using for browsing / product discovery
Example journey:
  • User discovers product on
  • Clicks product link to
  • Logged in, and directed to for checkout
  • Returns to for order confirmation
Here, is the referrer but it will show up with UTM source

How do I see the true source of the referral in Google Analytics?

Firstly, you need to exclude as a referral source. Only in scenario 2 is SHOP genuinely a source of customers, and there the UTM source tag will ensure it appears as a referrer. Littledata’s latest tracking script sets this up automatically.

referral exclusion

The second fix is harder. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Shopify only sets utm_source=shop_app in the URL query parameters in scenario 2, and Google Analytics won’t consider this a referral unless utm_medium is also set. So it appears under the (not set) channel.

Tip: Littledata now supports conversion tracking in Google Analytics 4 (GA4): Learn More

I’ve written a patch for our tracking script so that we set utm_medium as referral if only the source is specified, but you can also edit the default channel grouping in GA so that shop_app is grouped as a referral.

set the channel grouping

Thirdly, you want to differentiate orders going through from the normal Shopify checkout. Littledata’s Shopify app does this by translating the order tag shop_app into the transaction affiliation in Google Analytics, so the affiliation is Shopify, Shop App.


So if you’re a Littledata customer: our app has got you covered.

And if not there’s a few changes you’ll need to make in Google Analytics settings to make sure traffic is treated correctly.