Why does shop_app appear in Google Analytics?

If you have seen increase in sales from shop.app in the ‘Referral’ channel. This is a change Shopify made with the launch of the new Shop app, and can be easily fixed.

If you’ve noticed a new referral source ‘shop_app’ appearing in your Google Analytics, this is from Shopify native mobile app, Shop.

What is Shop?

SHOP by Shopify is a consumer mobile app, aggregating products and experiences from many Shopify merchants. It is heavily integrated with ShopPay, and also handles order tracking for items bought in the Shopify checkout

How would the Shop app fit into the user journey?

There are two scenarios:

1. Customer is using Shop app for checkout and payment
Example journey:
  • User finds your brand on Shop
  • User adds to cart and completes checkout
  • Order appears on your store, via the ‘Shop app’ sales channel
In this scenario you can’t track the pre-purchase journey, as it happened on Shopify’s app not your own – but using Littledata’s server-side tracking you can track the order and link it to other sessions they have made on your online store.
You want to differentiate orders going through shop.app 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.
2. Customer clicks through on the Shop app to your web store
Example journey:click through from Shop app
  • User discovers product on Shop app
  • User wants to find more about your brand and clicks to open
  • User (maybe) interacts with your online store
Here, shop_app is the referrer but it will not show up under the Referrals default channel grouping in Google Analytics.

How to get Shop app traffic under Referrals

Shop app is genuinely a source of customers, and Shopify sets the UTM source tag.

Unfortunately, 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) or Online Shopping channel.

Littledata’s tracking script automatically sends 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.

How to add to channel grouping


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 shop_app traffic is treated correctly.

Origin Coffee used Littledata & Recharge to drive 100% growth in subscribers 

Origin Coffee used Littledata & Recharge to drive 100% growth in subscribers 

SUMMARY Companies like Origin Coffee get the Littledata team out of bed every

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