Why did my website's traffic drop by 93% in one day?

AlternativeFoot
Tourist
11 0 10

Bit of a strange one, our site sessions have dropped by 93% in 24 hours really not sure why and where to start looking for answers...

Anyone else experienced this or anything similar?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated 🙂

Thanks

Replies 61 (61)

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Us too. We've lost half of our traffic, but only those recorded in Shopify. We also have external tracking, which shows a stable number of visitors. We're trying to figure out why Shopify is no longer seeing half of our visitors, but I suspect it has something to do with the GDPR/tracking changes they implemented last week.

AlternativeFoot
Tourist
11 0 10

Hi @shellbryson 

Thanks for your reply, however the drop is also noticeable in Google Analytics, so not sure it is entirely down to that but something we will bear in mind...

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Depends on how you have implemented GA, I suppose. I find it suspicious that these large traffic drops occurred relatively close to Shopify making reasonably significant changes to GDPR handling, but perhaps a red herring. I spent some time talking to support on a web chat and it has now been escalated to a technician, so I'll post an update here when I hear back in case it is useful. Good luck!

AlternativeFoot
Tourist
11 0 10

That's really interesting, I chatted to support about it too and have to say got nowhere...

I did discover that Google have recently implemented a core update (https://status.search.google.com/products/rGHU1u87FJnkP6W2GwMi/history), so not sure if that had an bearing on it, we did discover we had another issue but still not sure if that contributed or not - waiting for further feedback on this.

I will update here if I have any further information and hopefully between us we can get to the bottom of it!

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Well still no response from Shopify on the ticket I raised, which is almost as much of a concern as the actual loss in tracking (which is causing all kinds of issues with our ad tracking)

Ferdinor
Tourist
5 0 3

Shopify closed our chat earlier today.... so i quickly re opened and asked for an update. 

 

They are now trying to say the reason for the drop is on the 31st October they changed the policy for collecting data before cookie consent.

 

https://changelog.shopify.com/posts/customer-data-collection-update

 

Fair enough but our issues started on the 8th November after there policy change so i have now explained this AGAIN and waiting for a response.

 

I will keep you posted.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

This is precisely the issue we are having. We expected to see a change when the policies changed ~end of October. What we did see is a huge drop in recorded sessions ~November 8th.

Ferdinor
Tourist
5 0 3

We have also seen a large drop in visitors, this started for us on Wednesday evening and has been in a decline since. 

I spoke with support last night and they told me they have been made aware of this by several others but have no idea when they are putting a technician onto it and to use Google Analytics for an accurate statement.

That's not promising as Ours reflect on both Shopify and Google Analytics.

Please let us know if you have any luck finding a solution. 

AlternativeFoot
Tourist
11 0 10

Hi there,

It started Wednesday evening for us to, but it was a sudden drop of 80% from 18:00-19:00 and has stayed at that level since according to both Shopify Live View and GA. Our sales have also dropped accordingly, although strangely our Google Ads shows the same number of impressions, clicks and cost not sure how that can be the can be the case. I have raised support tickets with Google also, but no response as yet.

Ferdinor
Tourist
5 0 3

I have checked our Google ads and can see we dropped 30% clicks yesterday compared to our average and we are about 80% down today at this current time.

so unfortunately for us that would point more towards a drop in visitors rather than visitors not appearing in the analytics.

 

I have also noticed the number of visitors on Shopify analytics yesterday is a different number to one shown on Google Analytics, Google is showing far less!

 

The other thing that might be worth mentioning is I have seen active carts, checkouts and purchases being made whilst live is showing 0 people online so that's a little strange!

KLori
Not applicable
2 0 0

Has this turned around by now? I experienced the same and it has only continued to decline to the point sales have stopped at this point.

 

PipoSergio
Tourist
6 0 2

Same here. 

kristianh
Visitor
1 0 0

Thanks for mentioning this. I have same issue and have chatted with Shopify support severel times. 

 

It seems that my Cookie Service for some reason no longer works.

 

You can check if you need an app here: Online Store > Preferences > Customer date protection

To me the solution was to install Shopify Privacy & Compliance app

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

We have this installed already. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a flaw in their app.

AlternativeFoot
Tourist
11 0 10

Checked our cookie/privacy app and ours is also gone, so not sure what happened there 🤔

Seems we had got the Shopify Privacy & Compliance App installed but not activated, so have now activated that so we will see if that makes any changes..

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Hi there, did you see any changes once you had changed your cookie/privacy app to the Shopify Privacy & compliance app?

Ferdinor
Tourist
5 0 3

Anyone had any luck with this?

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

No. I had to reach out to their support team on Twitter as I'm getting no response on the follow-ups I added to our ticket. I've been promised a response there. I'll post any updates.

AdamSturrock
Visitor
3 0 0

We've identified hundreds of stores that have been affected by this policy update since 1st November. We have a spreadsheet with around 10-25% of our app install base affected.

This means we are no longer able to track UTMs effectively to work out our ad campaign attribution, charge merchants or report to them the orders our app has generated. We also can not report conversions from our ad campaigns into Google ads, this effectively killing our advertising campaigns entirely.

This change renders the customer journey UTM data on orders as useless as they report null.

Bravo Shopify, you've just killed advertising apps and marketing campaigns for 1000s of stores just before Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a short notice policy update. 

AdamSturrock
Visitor
3 0 0

Suggest that merchants turn tracking on before consent.

https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/privacy-and-security/privacy/consent

UTMs track behaviour, not people!

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

For those of us in the EU/UK this is not an option. GDPR requires consent before tracking cookies are used. You can't ask for forgiveness after the fact.

 

Screenshot 2023-11-16 at 11.34.50.png

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Nope. Going around in circles with Shopify support and getting nowhere. 

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Recieved this over night:

 

Hi Kevin, [not my name]
 
This is Christian a Shopify Support Specialist, I'm reaching out to you regarding this issue with tracking of ads. 
 
We already checking this on our and and From what our support sees, The option of 'Partially collect before consent' will continue to remain unavailable, which means our analytics won't include it while their third party analytics tools might collect that.

This is related to a change in how data is collected. 'Partially collect before consent' is no longer an option. They can review the most up to date information in our Customer Privacy API Dev Doc. There was also a bug when the change was made, which is now fixed. However the option of 'Partially collect before consent' will continue to remain unavailable.

We will still hold this ticket for you and we are still working on some informations needed to gather to fixed this issue completely.
 
In case you prefer to continue our conversation via chat, you can do so by providing the ticket number xxxxxxx. This will help us to quickly retrieve your previous conversation, saving you the trouble of explaining the issue again. Alternatively, you can simply respond to this email, and I will be more than happy to follow up with you.
 
I want to assure you that we are dedicated to providing you with the best possible support and will continue to help until your issue is fully resolved. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated. I'll be on a look-out for your response; Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
 
Best Regards,
Christian M. | Shopify Support Advisor

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Another update, saying the same thing, and again not telling me what happened on the 8th. Also, the cut-and-paste elements of the response are embarrassing. I genuinely think they're not interested and will not explain what happened, or whether there is a way to fix it. Disappointing.

 

Hello Shell,
 
I hope this message finds you well. I'm Christian, a Shopify Support Specialist, and I wanted to discuss the issue you're facing with tracking ads.
 
We have already investigated this matter thoroughly, and based on our findings, the option of 'Partially collect before consent' will remain unavailable. As a result, our analytics won't include this data, while third-party analytics tools may still collect it.
 
This change is related to how data is now collected, and the option of 'Partially collect before consent' is no longer available. For the most up-to-date information, I recommend reviewing our Customer Privacy API Dev Doc. Additionally, there was a bug during the implementation of this change, but it has been fixed. However, please note that the option of 'Partially collect before consent' will continue to remain unavailable.
 
Rest assured, we are still holding your ticket and actively working on gathering the necessary information to fully resolve this issue for you.
 
If you prefer to continue our conversation via chat, please provide the ticket number xxxxx. This will enable us to quickly retrieve your previous conversation, saving you the trouble of explaining the issue again. Alternatively, you can simply respond to this email, and I will be more than happy to follow up with you.
 
Please know that we are dedicated to providing you with the best possible support and will continue assisting you until your issue is fully resolved. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated. I will be eagerly awaiting your response and look forward to hearing from you soon.

SH30
Tourist
5 0 5

Has anyone found a solution to this problem? For us it also started between the 8th and 9th of November and is still ongoing. Shopify support is not helping and keeps closing the ticket! I am losing my mind,

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

No solution for us either. Our ticket is still open, but we're going around in circles, and they've said they are waiting on more information from their developers. I'm losing my mind too, and during the busiest week of the year. It's affected the Google/Shopify integration too, so it's not pulling information into GA4 and we've got a support ticket open with the Google team too but they can't understand why Shopify isn't sending the data. It's definitely a Shopify issue and it has something to do with the changes they made with collecting cookies after consent (which is something we've always done as that's the law here). So I'm not sure what they've changed in the background or why they would make changes at this time of the year. Nearly 4 weeks and a core Shopify function is not working at the busiest time of the year. It's unbelievable. 

 

If anyone has any further information please let me know! 

SH30
Tourist
5 0 5

Hi Fiona, so sorry to hear you're losing your mind too over this! It's the same with us, our GA4 is showing the same low traffic as Shopify. It's such a pain. Initially Shopify advised me to clear all caches and cookies and to delete any third party apps that we had downloaded recently because they thought there could be an app conflict. I did this and it did nothing. I also reached out to the provider of our cookie banner and our theme developer. I tried switchting to a different cookie banner provider. It's all been a huge waste of time and it's super frustrating. Let's hope that this gets resolved quickly.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Same for us. Shopify have left our ticket open but after repeating the same lines about "there was a bug" and "we no longer collect data before cookies accepted by customer" there has been no further explanation as to what happened on the 8th, no response at all from my follow up questions.

Recupwood
Tourist
7 0 1

Hi, 

 

I'm having the same issue. Since the 9th of november, we have a 80% drop in our sessions.

Screenshot 2023-11-23 at 12.11.52.png

All other tools (GA4, GMC, Ads) show normal traffic and our sales even have gone up a bit. So i'm 100% convinced that the data shown in Shopify analytics must be corrupt.

I've been in contact with Shopify support many times, but they keep on coming with some standard bla bla bla not relevant explanations.

First they kept on telling me that a difference between GA4 and Shopify analytics is normal. And even after explaining to them, that i'm fully aware of this small and normal difference, they kept on coming again and again with this explanation. 

When i kept on pushing, they came with a new explantion:

"After examining your case, I've discovered that the behavior you're seeing is expected and is linked to data tracking consent laws."

But i'm managing 18 Shopify Shops, all based in de EU and none of the other ones is showing this drop.

So i'm getting desperate and hope to find a solution in the community. I've been using the Shopify platform for many years now, and my feeling is that with the big succes the support lost it's high quality that i was used to get.


FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

We're getting the exact same response from Shopify. It's a nightmare. How have you implemented GA4 and ads? Through tag manager? 

 

Is there any difference between the store you're seeing the issue with's setup and the other stores you manage? Collect before/after consent?

 

Thanks, 

Fiona 

 

Thanks, 

Fiona 

Recupwood
Tourist
7 0 1

We stoped using tag manager and went for the standard Shopify/GA4 solution.

We always have collect after consent.

So i dont see any differences between my shops. The only major difference is the themes that we are using. 

 

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

We're the same, using the standard Shopify/GA4 solution, but that's stopped working for us too. We're back to using tag manager for google ads because that's the only way it works, and we needed to do something for Black Friday. 

 

We've always collected after consent too. 

 

Doesn't seem to be any clear pattern as to why it's working for some stores and no others.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

This is the biggest thing for us: there is no clear pattern. We have an entirely in-house theme, and if there is something we're missing or need to change, we'd be happy to build it / fix it. The wall of silence from Shopify makes it challenging to to say the least.

 

We're using TripleWhale for external tracking which gives us a reasonable picture (it does not rely on cookies, relying on behavioural tracking instead), however this doesn't help us with stats we were relying on from Shopify itself. We're also likely to build an in-house cookie banner based around the API Shopify provides for greater flexibility.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

It appears that Shopify doesn't care, which is frustrating when trying to grow a business on their platform.

SH30
Tourist
5 0 5

Hi all, 


just thought I would share the latest information I have received from Shopify support yesterday.

Because of European data tracking (cookie consent) legislation, an update went out on October 31st that forces merchants to have a solution in place to gather data tracking consent from European customers. If no such solution is in place, all data requests will be blocked automatically.
The update was not implemented for all stores on this date and was instead done on the 8th of November for many stores, which is why you would have seen a drop in sessions from that date.
 
This is expected behaviour related to data tracking consent legislation. What you will need to do is make sure that you have a data tracking consent application installed such as our Shopify Privacy & Compliance app here! This way you can ensure that your data is being tracked accurately.

 

I then explained to him that we have always had a data tracking consent application installed, so I am not sure how this would have caused an issue for us. But that I am happy to switch over to the Shopify solution that he mentioned. I deleted the other cookie consent app we had and installed the Shopify one but I could not get that one to show. And I am really experienced with Shopify and even custom coding so I know I did everything correctly. So I let him know that I couldn't get this to work and they seriously replied this:

Typically for this type of issue (a banner not displaying despite settings being correct on the app/your account etc), I would want to test this by using a VPN to set my region to x (any EU country) in order for GDPR compliance to be applicable to my browser session - which is going to force your banners to pop for me accordingly. We're in the middle of changes on our side here for VPN access (entirely unrelated to this issue) so unfortunately I don't have that flexibility available at this point. No time frame to provide on that functionality being available on this side, as much as I'd like to be able to dig into this.
Appreciate your patience here. This ticket will be marked as solved out due to automation requirements, but you're welcome to reply back to this of course.


So basically... once again no help. I am going to try and reach out to the German-speaking support team (We are based in Germany but sell internationally) and I am hoping they will be based in Germany and at least Europe, so won't need to use a VPN.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

It's a similar story here. We always had the compliance app installed, so either there is a bug in _that_ or somewhere else in Shopify. They closed my ticket, despite my last comment on it asking various questions.

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

Last night. Shopify closed our ticket without comment, without answering my questions or even a goodbye... Toxic relationships. 

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Hi Shellbryson, 

 

Have you managed to resolve the issue? Did you get any more updates from Shopify?

SH30
Tourist
5 0 5

Hi all,

 

the issue has finally resolved itself for me (I think - fingers crossed).

 

Since switching over to Shopify's Privacy and Compliance app (and deleting all other cookie / consent apps), my statistics have finally picked up again, the curve literally spiked up as soon as I installed the app and has been consistent since.

 

So I recommend trying this if you haven't! The app is free so it's worth a try. 

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Hi SH30, 

 

Do you mind me asking what cookie/consent app were you using previously? We are using OneTrust and I've just been on a call with them testing our configuration just to make sure there isn't anything there. There have been no changes on the OneTrust side, but they have seen a few Shopify Analytic queries coming through since the 9th November... 

 

I still have an open ticket with Shopify and no response from them this week. We are still without a core Shopify functionality nearly 5 weeks later and little to no support. 

 

I am nervous about changing the cookie consent compliance, as Shopify has said this may or may not resolve the issue, because I don't think they even know what it is they have broken. 

 

Keen to know if anyone else has resolved this, or what cookie banners people are using?

 

Thanks, 

Fiona 

SH30
Tourist
5 0 5

Hi Fiona,

 

Unfortunately, even though the traffic numbers shown in Shopify analytics have increased since switching over to Shopify's Privacy and Compliance app (cookie banner solution), it's still far from what it should be, so the issue is still ongoing. I have reached out Shopify again to let them know and here is the response I got:

 

 
Hi Saskia,
 
Thank you for reaching out again. My name is Caitlin and I'll be advising you today.
 
I've taken some time to thoroughly read through your previous conversation and have done some investigating into the issue that you, and other merchants, have faced since November 8th. 
 
As you're already aware, because of European data tracking (cookie consent) legislation, an update went out on October 31st that forces merchants to have a solution in place to gather data tracking consent from European customers; if no such solution is in place, all data requests will be blocked automatically. This was rolled out to some merchants on October 31st with the remainder being rolled out on and around November 8th. I can confirm your store is affected by this, as the date of November 8th is noted internally here as a date that merchants saw a sudden decrease in traffic recorded in Shopify Analytics. This was reported internally as a known incident due to the influx of merchants reporting a huge decrease in traffic recorded in Shopify analytics and which is why you're seeing this crop up in more than one store.
 
I can see that your store does have a cookie banner installed, so when a customer explicitly consents to being tracked, the data should be recorded as your preferences are set to Collect after Consent.
Prior to the changes, data such as traffic could be partially collected prior to consent, but now the options are only before or after consent. Due to this, you will see an overall decrease in traffic recorded in Shopify analytics, but the third-parties should continue to work as expected and without interruption as the data collection is external to Shopify analytics. We always advise that third-party analytics cannot be compared to what's recorded in Shopify, but in this case there was indeed a sharp drop in traffic which was viewed as not quite normal, and is explained by the recent changes to privacy laws/changes in how data is collected in Shopify.
 
Going forward from now, it's expected to see less data recorded in the Shopify analytics compared to before the new legislation was introduced due to the changes on October 31st and November 8th. Aside from having a privacy compliance app installed on the store to meet the legislation there are no further actions you need to take.
 
Should you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reply here and we are happy to help. 
 
Kind regards,
Caitlin | Shopify Support
 
So it sounds to me like what they are saying is - there is nothing else that can be done, due to the changes in legislation and therefore on Shopify's end, from now on less traffic will be reported through Shopify analytics. 😞
 
Hope this helps.
Best regards,
Saskia
 
shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

We have now accepted that there's nothing else we can do, so are modifying some of our approaches to ads/tracking. We're using the stock Shopify cookie banner.

 

Shopify has been extremely unhelpful, relatively opaque from the start, and uncommunicative about implementing the change that caused all this in the first place. It was an extremely disappointing process, which is a shame.

AV11
Tourist
4 0 4

Hi, could I ask what approach you've now taken with your ads/tracking? Our paid marketing revenue has absolutely jumped off a cliff since the changes and almost everything is (supposedly) being assigned to Direct in the source/medium reports. 

GrazeYou
Tourist
5 0 0

Just found this thread after expecting no results from googling "shopify sessions dropped on 9th november" Seems there's a global problem, which is a slight relief, I thought I'd done something wrong and ruined our sales. Not only sessions are down (see screenshot below), but Sales also.

question: my theme already has a cookie consent banner feature. Do I need to install the Shopify Privacy & Compliance app as well (seems to have helped with some here)?

grazeme_0-1702056634735.png

 

 

shellbryson
Shopify Partner
45 2 16

I don't believe so. It "should" be hitting the same API whatever Cookie banner you are using, but you will need to verify that yourself. Unfortunately, it looks like this drop in recorded traffic is just what it is now. There is no fix.

Dascalargo
Shopify Partner
71 6 35

Interesting side note: Of the 70 landing pages shown in our report, over 60 of them are checkout screens. Clearly, they're not actually landing there, but it's like that's the only part of the site that is being tracked. Likewise, based on the numbers shown in sessions, which dropped by 90-some-odd percent on November 9, I think only visitors who make it to checkout are being counted at all.

 

Seeing the same thing in G4. The site is using Shopify's cookie approval app.

 

I tried going through online customer support and this was an unknown issue for the rep I spoke to. Does that mean they're being told not to acknowledge there's an issue or are they just not educating their people about this widespread problem? The rep said he "reset the account" for us. I have my doubts.

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Our ticket with Shopify support is still open and ongoing, but no solution. The latest they have said is:

 

The developers are actively working on the issue.  The suggestion in the meantime is to use one of the following GDPR banner apps:

Privacy & Compliance

  • Easy GDPR + Cookie Bar
  • beeclever GDPR Legal Cookie
  • GDPR Cookie Optimizer
  • GDPR/CCPA Cookie Compliance
  • Consentmo GDPR
  • Europe Cookie Notice
  • Pandectes GDPR Compliance
  • GDPR Cookie Bar + CCPA
  • ConsentEX GDPR +EU Cookie Bar
  • GDPR Buster
  • GDPR/CCPA Compliance Manager
  • Metizsoft GDPR Cookie Compiler
  • Omega Cookie Banner
  • GDPRify - Smart GDPR Banner
  • Nova: EU Cookie Bar GDPR

 

We are currently using OneTrust and we have had calls with them about our configuration and it's all correct. Shopify have said they are speaking with OneTrust to try and resolve the issue but I've heard nothing else. I also know other Shopify stores using OneTrust with the same configuration as us who do not have issues, so I'm not sure how this will resolve the issue, or what the issue is. I don't think Shopify knows what the issue is, but at least they are admitting there is an issue that they have caused during the busiest time of the year. 

 

Has anyone installed any of the above and resolved the issue? 

FionaDillon
Excursionist
18 0 9

Just to note, they are not saying installing the above will resolve the issue. They are just saying it might, but they don't know what the issue is and they couldn't tell if it had resolved the issue for any other Shopify merchants. 

JolieBeauty
Not applicable
1 0 0

Hi Fiona,

Did you get a resolution, Is the site traffic now correct?