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Analytics PayPal Referral: T-Time With Tillison

Analytics PayPal referral

If you run an eCommerce site and you’ve looked at your Google Analytics recently, you’ve probably noticed a high amount of traffic coming from referral sites. What you might not have realised is that the data is wrong. Payment clients like PayPal and arcot.com are taking the credit for some of your sales when they shouldn’t.

In this T-Time video, Mark explains why PayPal in particular is driving sales to your website, how it’s skewing your data in Google Analytics, and what you can do to fix it.

Analytics Paypal Referral: T-Time With Tillison

What is a Google Analytics PayPal referral?

(0:46) When a user arrives on your site, the click that got them there is recorded by Google Analytics. Whether it’s from a social media post, a PPC campaign, organic search or anything else, Google documents where the traffic has come from.

But a problem arises when customers are sent to payment gateways like PayPal to complete a transaction. PayPal refers the user back to your site, but takes credit for the conversion because the last click was from the gateway or one of its subdomains.

Why is this traffic devastating to your conversion tracking?

To get an accurate insight into how customers are finding your site, you have to understand that PayPal is not referring meaningful traffic; those users were already on your website and they came from a different source. The only reason Google Analytics displays this data is because the payment gateway was the last meaningful click before a purchase was completed.

To view the damage this is doing to your reporting, head to Google Analytics and click Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Model Comparison Tool. If you compare last interaction to first interaction, you will see the number of conversions from referral traffic decreases significantly, proving that customers have come from elsewhere. But is there a way to make your Google Analytics data reflect the truth? The answer is a resounding yes.

Analytics PayPal referral traffic

How can you stop Google Analytics from reporting PayPal conversions?

(3:51) All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure that you have admin rights on the property you’re editing, and head to Admin > Tracking info > Referral Exclusion List
  2. Click on the red ‘+ Add Referral Exclusion’ button
  3. Fill in the domain box with ‘paypal.com’ – you don’t the individual subdomains
  4. Click ‘Create’

This won’t change the user experience; customers will still be sent off-site to PayPal and then be referred back to your site. However, Google Analytics will no longer count this as a referral from PayPal. Instead, the last interaction will be accredited to the click that sent the user to your website.

It is worth noting that this won’t change your historic data – it will only affect your reporting from the moment you hit the ‘Create’ button onwards. Having said that, you will find it much easier to track how users are reaching your site much more accurately.

Do you have any questions about Google Analytics? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, subscribe to our YouTube channel so you never miss a T-Time video, and get in touch to find out more about our Google Analytics training courses.

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