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.
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:
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: https://feedarmy.com/kb/how-to-track-google-shopping-free-listings-in-google-analytics/
Thanks @EmmanuelFlossie -- That's a good find.
After also digging into it some more, I've come to these additional conclusions:
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'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?
I think the right answer is "it depends".
Your choices are:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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