Traffic under Google/product_sync Surged After Connecting Shopping Feed With Google Merchant Center

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After syncing products from the Shopify store to Google Merchant Center - we noticed a huge volume of traffic labelled Google/product_sync. The traffic comes from locations outside of our market (Quincy, North Bergen, Clifton, New York). Once we disconnected the feed the traffic went away. We see this traffic using Google Analytics. 

Google Merchant Center says the /product_sync parameter is not native to Analytics - they said its something that the Shopify Product feed is creating. From what we can tell there is something going on between the Shopify product feed that syncs with Google Merchant Center. 

Has anyone encountered this problem? Any tips? Feedback. 

Replies 8 (8)
Shopify Partner
74 2 32

Hi @WeLovePets20 

This is indeed caused by the Shopify Google Shopping integration. When Shopify uploads your product feed to Google Merchant Center, it appends the following UTM tags to the product url:

You can confirm this by going to your Merchant Center > Products > All Products > and click on one of your products that was uploaded via the API. Look at the product url / link and you will see the utm tags in there. Depending on how your analytics is configured, this can cause any traffic coming from Google Shopping to have "product_sync" as it's medium.
To fix this and  remove the UTM tags from your products:
  1. Go to Merchant Center > Products > Feeds
  2. Click on "Content API" feed
  3. Click on Feed Rules tab
  4. Click + button and type "link" and select "link" to create a new rule for the link attribute
  5. Click cancel under Data Sources and then Modifications > Add Modifications
  6. Optimize URL > Remove Parameter
  7. Type utm_medium and click add
  8. Repeat for utm_source, utm_content, and utm_campaign
  9. Click OK and look in the right side column preview to see if the link has been properly updated.
  10. Click Save as Draft
  11. Click Apply
  12. Wait a while for your feed rules to take effect.
More discussion about this here:
Hope this helps.
Shopify Partner
2575 186 623

I now understand what this is. Do not remove this appended query string. It is used to track organic clicks in the shopping tab.

If you remove it, you will not get any organic data in Google Analytics.

Google currently has no way of showing you data from organic shopping clicks. Hence why appending this query will allow you to see this.

I have written an article about it here:

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Premier Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Shopify Partner
74 2 32

Thanks @EmmanuelFlossie -- That's a good find.

After also digging into it some more, I've come to these additional conclusions:

  1. sag_organic stands for Surfaces Across Google organic traffic
  2. I think a better way to track this traffic would be to set
    This way your standard GA reports look the same (everything bundled into google/organic) but you can segment by Campaign to figure out how much of the traffic is from Organic Shopping Listings. Optionally, you can include the product.title in utm_content which would allow you to further segment on what specific products are sending you the organic traffic.
  3. missing canonical_link: A bigger issue with Shopify's implementation is that the canonical_link is not being set. Without this, Google could start including your UTM'd product urls in it's main search index, which will cause havoc on your Analytics data.

If you use tracking parameters in your link attributes, it is recommend that you use the canonical_link attribute to provide a canonical URL. Use the canonical_link attribute to ensure that products are associated with the correct URL in the Google Search index.

I've added a walkthrough on how to change both the UTMs and to set the canonical_link tag using Merchant Center rules here:
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Hi Czarto,

I'm now a little confused as to what to do?

Do I follow the steps in your first comment and remove parameter utm_medium etc etc

or is Emmanuel telling us not to do that?

Kind Regards


Shopify Partner
74 2 32

Hi Dan,


I think the right answer is "it depends".


Your choices are:


  1. Leave as is, but I think this isn't the best option as the utm tags are somewhat cryptic.
  2. Override the UTM values to explicitly set source as "google" or "google shopping" and medium as "organic" or "organic shopping"
  3. Clear the UTM values and let Google Analytics categorize them properly (but I'm not sure exactly how GA will handle this).


So I think #2 is the best option, as it provides all the benefits of #1 (what Emmanuel recommends) but with UTM tags that make more sense.



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Hey Alex,thanks a lot for sharing these insights.
I have just one more thing I want to ask you. I went with option 2 of changing those UTM tags. Now do I still need to take that canonical link step or not?
Additionally, I've been running Google Performance Max campaigns on my pruducts yet I've seen all my sales being attributed to the "sag" UTMs. Do you think that Google Merchant center might be overriding the UTMs with the sag tags even when the traffic is coming from paid ads?

Shopify Partner
74 2 32

Hi -- If you're product links in merchant center have the default utm tags set to sag_organic etc... Then those are the links that Google Shopping and PMax campaigns will send traffic to. So yes, you will continue to see traffic being attributed to "sag_organic" until you strip those UTMs from your feed.



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Hi Alex,


Thanks for the proposed solution. However it does strip the parameters for organic shopping as well, which is what the Shopify Google Integration intends to preserve. A more robust way to do this, and to also ensure both ad traffic and organic traffic is correctly tracked is to use "ads_redirect" attribute.


Basically - strip all parameters like you described, but assign the value to "ads_redirect" and not the "link" attribute. That way ad traffic will use Google auto-tagging and organic traffic will use the UTM parameters from the feed.


Yet another way to achieve the same effect is by using campaign tracking templates - these automatically force Google analytics to ignore the UTM parameters and classify traffic based on the tracking template.