Analytics healthcheck is one of the best ways to make sure you are on the right track.
You can easily maintain or improve the quality of your reports & data by checking your GA4 setup, configuration, and implementation.
This way, you can pinpoint and fix any issues that might affect the accuracy and quality of your data.
Otherwise, relatively small issues and problems might pile up to cause inaccurate & poor data quality for your website.
One of the main sources of inaccurate & poor data quality is direct traffic and referrals.
Here in this tutorial, you will learn how to have an Analytics healthceck by discovering:
Before we start, make sure to have Google Analytics 4 set up on your Shopify store.
Your conversions & sales might be increasingly more attributed to direct traffic or your own domain and properties.
This might be due to a couple of reasons that you will discover as you read on. Before that, you should know how to see the direct traffic report in GA4 so you can see where your users are coming from.
Direct traffic means that users arrive at your website either by typing your website URL into a browser or through browser bookmarks. Google Analytics marks the unknown traffic as Direct Traffic as well.
Follow the steps below to view your direct traffic properly on GA4:
Go to the section called “Traffic acquisition” under “Acquisition” in Google Analytics 4 to find your website’s direct traffic.
Navigate to the “Pages and screens” section under “Engagement” to see the specific pages that direct traffic landed on.
Click the button that says “Add comparison +” at the top of the screen.
A panel will appear on the right side of your screen. Look for the option called “Session source” in the dropdown list and select it.
Check the box next to “(direct)” in the dropdown list of dimension values.
Click “OK” and then “Apply”.
Find the blue “A” symbol at the top and move your mouse over it. Click the “X” symbol that appears to remove the “All Users” data from your report.
Scroll down to see a table displaying the pages that were visited by direct traffic.
To focus on the landing pages specifically, go to the column labeled “Event count”.
Click the dropdown menu that says “All events” and choose “first_visit”.
Now you have a list of the pages where your direct traffic lands.
Think about why visitors might be landing directly on those pages.
As mentioned above, the “unknown” traffic can be attributed as direct.
On our observations, the following cases mostly cause the Direct Traffic issue:
There might be other reasons as well. However, these are the most common issues and are quite easy to fix.
Read on to discover ways to fix the related issues.
Referral traffic on Google Analytics basically means that someone clicked a link on another website and landed on yours.
Unlike direct traffic, we can understand more about the referral traffic and learn where the users are exactly coming from. This way, we can define and fix problems.
Therefore, you should exclude it from your GA4 reports to avoid misleading data.
You can refer to this tutorial to set referral exclusions in a few steps: Referral Exclusions on Google Analytics
The best practices below will not only fix direct and referral problems but also help you get more accurate GA4 reports.
Please follow each point and apply what’s recommended properly:
1. All your pages must have the tracking code
Missing tracking code is a common problem that Shopify merchants who use custom page or landing page builders face.
You need to make sure that all your pages have the Google Analytics tracking code installed. If you are using Google Tag Manager, make sure it is properly set up as well.
Follow the instructions to make sure you have the Google Analytics tracking code on your pages:
Install the “Google Tag Assistant Legacy” extension from the Chrome Web Store by searching for it and clicking on “Add to Chrome.”
After installation, the extension will be hidden in your browser. To enable it, locate the puzzle piece icon in the top right corner of your browser (extensions area) and click on it.
Disable any ad blockers you have for this process. Then, reload the page to allow the extension to analyze the page
After the page reloads, you will see a list of tags triggered during the page load.
2. Cross-domain tracking is configured correctly
If you have two or more related sites in the same property, then you need to take care of the cross-domain configuration.
Make sure to add “myshopify.com” or another page builder URL base in case you have one.
In Google Analytics 4, setting up cross-domain is very simple. Just follow the simple steps below:
Login to Google Analytics > Click “Admin” on the left bottom corner
Click on Data Streams
Step 3. Select the property for which you want to set up cross-domain tracking
Click on the More Tagging Setting under Additional Settings
Click on “Configure your domains”
Click on Add Condition and choose a simple match type – ‘contains’
Enter your domain, and also “myshopify.com domain” to establish the association between your store and this domain.
It is important to note that sometimes Shopify may send traffic from this particular domain, and configuring it allows Google Analytics to correctly identify it as your own domain.
Once you have entered all the relevant domains, save your configuration.
3. Have a proper UTM Setup for your Ads
More often than not, it’s possible to see wrong UTM parameters set up on Shopify merchants.
These incorrect UTM parameters cause wrong Referrals and Direct Traffic issues.
Please check our article for Ideal UTM Setup on Facebook Ads for Shopify Stores.
4. Do not use UTM tags on internal links
UTMs are for external links only, and it would totally break the attribution if used internally because Google Analytics sees a new UTM link, it will simply overwrite the previous source.
Some stores have a website hosted outside of Shopify domainname.com, and then their store on shop.domainname.com.
So they use a UTM link from the main webpage to the Shop and that is completely wrong.
Make sure to remove UTM from all of your internal links.
5. Make sure you don’t have multiple Google Analytics Pixel
If you have the same Google Analytics code twice on your website, that will cause a lot of trouble in your reports.
You can use the Google Tag Assistant extension to check if you have multiple Google Analytics pixels on your website.
6. Monitor Redirections
The most common case is www & non-www and HTTP & HTTPS redirections.
Let’s see that through a real-life scenario:
Our website URL is https://analyzify.com/, and all of the following versions are being redirected to https://analyzify.com/
If we advertise using https://www.analyzify.app/ the UTM parameters and sources would get lost during the redirection.
There is nothing wrong with these redirections. In fact, it is exactly how it should work.
You should just use the same version all across the web and in your ads – not a version that will be redirected.
Data Analytics tracking is a complex concept and you might be doing a lot of things wrong.
However, applying the best practices will help you get the best out of your Google Analytics 4 reporting.
Thanks for reading our tutorial. If you want to benefit from Google Analytics 4 even better, don’t forget to check out this complete tutorial that covers all the important settings: The 8 Most Important GA4 Settings You Need to Know