Adding Payment Gateway to Referral Exclusion List in Google Analytics

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Okay, so in the Ecommerce Tracking Set Up in Google Analytics — Step-by-Step Guide here we reviewed the stages for how to set up your Google Analytics when you have an ecommerce store you would like to track.

And since we know that the best marketing strategies are built on a precise, reliable, accurate data, we can’t let a simple data-collection error mess with our conclusions.

So, what’s the issue?

Google Analytics is a well-structured, relentless, and powerful marketing tool. And it also has an eye on every interaction, at all times. Which means sometimes, only sometimes, it records a little too much of every move it sees.

Say you have a working ecommerce store, but like most websites, once your visitors choose the products, they will be redirected to complete the purchase through another website, or so-called ecommerce payment gateway. Ecommerce payment gateway is any platform you use to perform the ecommerce transactions for your website other than your actual website.

It can be Fondy, SecurePay, Amazon Payments or the most popular among ecommerce payment gateways — Paypal and Shopify, which we will review in the current article.

The issue is Google Analytics registers any session originated at the place, different from your website, as new, even if it’s one session all the way. So the user likes an item and decides to pay for it, after what he gets transferred to a payment gateway, and once the purchase is complete — back to your website.

This user journey will get registered as if your user came from the payment gateway hostname, meaning from Paypal or Shopify accordingly, which can and will really mess with your Google Analytics statistics.

Why does this happen?

This issue with Google Analytics happens because, well, “pobody’s nerfect”, and just how we humans make mistakes, so does the giant of web tracking and analytics.

Implementation of ecommerce payment gateway needs some traffic to be directed to the payment gateway website, and after the payment is done — back to your online store again.

This results in Google Analytics recording the source of the user’s visit according to the payment gateway they’ve used, which is fundamentally wrong, for example:

Shopify referrals

Paypal referrals

How to add payment gateway to Referral Exclusion List

The good news is, it’s easy to fix this issue. All you have to do is utilize the Google Analytics tool, called Referral Exclusion list. Analytics Referral Exclusion list is a place where you can include all the places you don’t want your traffic to get registered from, which in our case is Paypal and Shopify.

The process of adding to the referral exclusion list is quite simple, just follow these five simple steps described below and you’ll be good to go!

Step 1.

Login to your GA account, and go to admin:

Step 2.

Once the Admin panel has opened, go to the Property section and click on the LoginTracking info:

Step 3.

Under all the lists that just opened, find the Referral Exclusion List:

Step 4.

Clicking on the Referral Exclusion List will expand with a red button, called Add referral exclusion, which you’ll have to click on.

Step 5.

And the final step towards adding to referral exclusion list — type in or copy & paste a domain or subdomain you wish to exclude in the field, and click “Create”.



Google Analytics is a precise and accurate tool if used with a cautious and detailed-oriented approach. Used wrong, and you’ll end up with a bunch of data that is hard to understand, and even harder to utilize.

To avoid any mistakes use our 5 easy steps for the creation and adding to your referral exclusion list in order to exclude payment gateways.

Originally published at on July 19, 2019.




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