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My property has multiple subdomains and each subdomain has it's own view. I have Tag Manager setup to use the same cookie for all the domains, but I have not yet added the subdomains to the referral exclusion list.

The reason being: I want to be able to track the subdomain "referral" traffic. I want to be able to look at a user's journey across the subdomains in a single view. If I add the subdomains to the referral exclusion list, they'll be lumped into the "direct / none" acquisition category without a way to differentiate them, correct?

Will I get duplicate data if I let GA record the subdomains as referral traffic, but I have the auto-cookie feature enabled in GTM? Has anyone found a workaround for this dilemma?

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  • Why do you consider a referral from your subdomain an acquisition? Isn't the user already on your site when they are on the subdomain? Aug 14 at 0:07
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  1. You will not get duplicate data this way.
  2. That referral traffic logic only works and is meant to work for attribution purposes. You don't want to use attribution reports to analyze how users go between subdomains. Because that info will be influenced by your attribution model and overwritten accordingly to it and other channels.
  3. You should still be able to leverage the referrer dimension whether you have the domains in the exclusion list or not.
  4. Finally, if that's really something you analyze and report on, you would likely want to consider having logic in your GTM where you utilize a custom dimension and, probably, user cookies to log user movements across subdomains whenever it happens.

The GTM tracking option will give you a lot of control over what data is getting tracked and how. You will also not depend on GA's processing logic for it's built-in dimensions.

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