Articles on: Google Analytics

What is referral exclusions and how to set them?

Referral traffic in Google Analytics refers to the visitors that come to your site from other sites which are not search engines. While this information can be highly useful, sometimes you might want to exclude specific referrals to get more accurate data about your visitor sources. That's where referral exclusions come into play.

What Are Referral Exclusions?

Referral exclusions in Google Analytics allow you to exclude specific domains from being recognized as referral traffic. When a domain is excluded, traffic that arrives at your site from the specified domain doesn't trigger a new session. Instead, it's treated as a continuation of the original session. This can be helpful to prevent third-party shopping carts or other intermediate sites from initiating new sessions, which can distort your Analytics data.

Why Use Referral Exclusions?

Here are some scenarios where referral exclusions may be useful:

Third-Party Payment Gateways: If your customers are redirected to a third-party payment gateway and then back to your site, without a referral exclusion, this may count as a new session, skewing your data.

Internal Referrals: You may wish to exclude referrals between different subdomains of your own business to get a clearer picture of external traffic sources.

How to Set Up Referral Exclusions:

Setting up referral exclusions in Google Analytics is straightforward. Follow these steps:

Log in to Google Analytics: Open your Google Analytics account, and navigate to the property where you want to set up the exclusion.

Access the Admin Panel: Click on the 'Admin' gear icon at the bottom left of the page.

Choose 'Data Streams' and then click stream.

Add Referral Exclusion: Next select "Configure Tag Settings" and in the next screen first click "show all" and then select "List Unwanted Referrals" Add all your exclusions here. For Shopify, see our recommended list below.

Save the Settings

Please note that it might take some time for the changes to take effect in your reports.

We recommend excluding the following URLs as they are the most popular payment providers in Shopify environment.


Referral exclusions are a valuable tool for cleaning up your Google Analytics data and understanding your traffic sources more accurately. By excluding specific domains, you can eliminate unwanted referrals, such as third-party payment processors or internal subdomains, providing a clearer and more insightful view of your traffic. Careful management of these exclusions will enable you to make more informed decisions based on your Analytics data.

For further assistance or specific questions, please don't hesitate to contact our support team. We're here to help you make the most of your Google Analytics experience

Updated on: 01/12/2024

Was this article helpful?

Share your feedback


Thank you!