If your orders from Shopify in Google Analytics are attributed to the Direct channel, or you are seeing strange clusters of events of ‘orphan’ events, there are a few steps of Littledata’s tracking that could be going wrong.
The add to cart, checkout steps, orders and ReCharge subscription events are sent from Littledata’s cloud servers in the AWS East region – so you may see sessions and conversions from Clifton, New Jersey or Ashburn, Virginia if the link between the end users’ browser session and our server is broken.
If you’re using our Segment source, this problem will manifest itself as events coming from Boardman, Oregon – where Segment’s servers relay our events to Google Analytics.
Known limitations of user tracking
In the following situations we have no way of linking server-side events (including orders) to the preceding website visit:
- When the page views before a product was added to cart are not tracked (see below)
- When the order is from a source other than your own website; for example, one processed on Amazon Marketplace. You can see this by adding the custom dimension `Payment gateway` to the sales reports
- When the order is a recurring charge from a subscription which was set up before Littledata was installed (i.e. Littledata never tracked the session where the customer subscribed)
- When the user has blocked tracking scripts, so no events are sent from the user’s browser
- When an unrelated bug in the website page blocks our tracking script from running
In these cases you will see in Google Analytics:
- The channel is Direct
- The landing page for the session is (not set)
- All dimensions set form the web browser (version, screen size etc) are (not set)
- In the User Explorer report, the client ID starts with
In Segment you will see that the anonymous ID starts with
What if the customer ID is known for these orphan events?
For orphan events about known customers (e.g. a recurring order or refund), we use the Shopify customer ID as the
userId field. We also create a unique client ID / anonymous ID for each user (starting with
default.littledata). This identifier is persisted across all future events for that same user.
So any events linked to the same
userId will also share this same client ID. e.g. you can see all the recurring orders that user made, but not the original marketing source of those orders.
Making use of unlinked events
Littledata still sends events which can’t be linked back to the customer, so you can measure accurate volumes of user activity (e.g. total revenue). Every web analytics system has similar limitations to the above – but our servers ensure that even when customers block scripts (does not want to be tracked), you can still anonymously include their orders in the total.
Issues to investigate
The following issues can all lead to an abnormal level (more than 10%) of events not linked to the pre-checkout web session.
All pages need Littledata’s snippet included in the Shopify theme – which populates the LittledataLayer with ecommerce data on that page. You can include that snippet manually or login to Littledata to update the snippet across your store.
LittledataLayer into the console to see if it is defined.
Outdated data layer version
If your store is not using the latest Littledata data layer, it may have been reverted when the Shopify theme was updated. You can update that snippet manually or login to Littledata to update the snippet across your store. The current version at the time of writing was
LittledataLayer to see the
Google Analytics cookie not added to cart attributes
Littledata’s script stores the client ID from Google Analytics’s cookie within the Shopify cart. If this is not set correctly, then the data collection will fail.
Tip: Request the current cart from Shopify and check that
attributes field contains
You can log the cart contents by using this jQuery code:
jQuery.getJSON('/cart').then(res => console.log(res))
Further checks for ReCharge checkout
ReCharge stores need to check further steps.
Shopify domain not linking with ReCharge checkout
If the Google Analytics cookie on the ReCharge checkout domain is not the same as on the preceding Shopify store page, the user journey will be fragmented. Please check you have the Google Analytics integration activated for ReCharge, and check for any console errors on the ReCharge checkout.
Littledata integration not activated
Littledata needs permission to add this cookie tracking to the ReCharge order notes. Go to ReCharge integrations page to enable Littledata.