Tag your Google Ads final URLs

In order for Analytics to display details about keywords and costs from your linked Google Ads account, you must do one of the following:

  • Enable auto-tagging. This is the recommended approach and ensures that you get the most detailed Google Ads data.
  • Manually tag all your keyword final URLs with tracking variables. You should only do this in the special cases outlined below.

We strongly recommend that you use auto-tagging.

In this article:

How auto-tagging works

Auto-tagging automatically imports Google Ads data into Analytics. Combining Google Ads data with the rich post-click information provided by Analytics allows you to see what happened on your site after people clicked on your ads.

When you enable auto-tagging, a parameter called gclid is added to your landing page URL when a user clicks over to your site from an ad. For example, if your site is www.mysite.com, when a user clicks on your ad it appears in the address bar as:

www.mysite.com/?gclid=123xyz

Enable auto-tagging

To enable/disable auto-tagging:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the gear icon, and select Account settings.
  3. Make sure you're on the Preferences tab, and click Edit in the Tracking section.
  4. Select (enable) or clear (disable) the Auto-tagging checkbox.
  5. Click Save changes.
Learn more about the benefits of auto-tagging.

Special cases

Your website doesn't allow arbitrary URL parameters

A small percentage of websites do not allow arbitrary URL parameters and serve an error page when auto-tagging is turned on. Consult with your webmaster to find out if this is the case, or turn on auto-tagging and do a test by clicking a live version of your ad (for example, do a Google search that displays your ad and click that). If the link to your site works, then you can use auto-tagging. If you get an error, you need to turn auto-tagging off from your Google Ads account. Then, ask your webmaster to allow arbitrary URL parameters before turning it back on.

If allowing URL parameters is not a workable solution, you can tag your links manually. However, manual tagging can be time consuming and will only allow you to see a subset of Google Ads data.

Use caution when manually tagging your links:

  • Tag your actual final URLs with parameters. If you try to use a redirect from a final URL to another URL + parameters, your Google Ads data won't be transmitted to Analytics.
  • Remember to disable auto-tagging. If you unintentionally mix manual and auto-tagging, you're likely to encounter data discrepancies.

You need to use auto-tagging for non-Analytics purposes

If you need to (1) turn on auto-tagging in your Google Ads account for purposes other than Analytics tracking and (2) wish to use manual tagging for Analytics, then you must enable the auto-tagging override setting to avoid data discrepancies:

  1. Sign in to your Analytics account.
  2. Click Admin and navigate to the relevant property.
  3. In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings.
  4. Under Advanced Settings, select Allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging (GCLID values).
  5. Click Save.
Notes:
  • If you have a standard (free) Analytics account, enabling this setting can result in sampling for some of your Google Ads reports.
  • If you have linked your Search Ads 360 account to your Analytics account, then this setting will also apply to all clicks coming from search campaigns managed in Search Ads 360.
  • Manual tags and UTM override are not supported in Multi-Channel Funnels

This setting enables Analytics reports to use the UTM values for Source, Campaign, Term, and Content that you've specified via manual tagging. You must specify utm_source for the override to take effect. If utm_source is empty, then Analytics will still auto-tag and not respect any of the UTM values specified in the URL.

Once you've enable the override feature, Analytics will give preference to values provided in UTM parameters over auto-tagged values. If a parameter is not specified in the URL, then Analytics will use the auto-tagged value.

Example

You specify:

  • utm_source = "google"
  • utm_campaign = "foo"

Analytics reports use:

  • Campaign = "foo"
  • Auto-tagged values for all other parameters:
    • medium = "cpc"
    • term = [auto-tagged value from Google Ads]
    • content = [auto-tagged value from Google Ads]

In addition, Analytics also continues to join these click through sessions with Google Ads Clicks, as long as Source and Medium are not changed from google and cpc, respectively. As a result, you can:

  • Access richer data in some Analytics reports, such as Final URL, Shopping Campaigns, and Video Campaigns.
  • Import Analytics goals and transactions into Google Ads conversion tracking.
  • Import Analytics data to Google Ads reports.
Note: Google Ads metrics (Impressions, Clicks, and Cost) will be reported as 0 for the manual UTM values, and will instead be reported under the auto-tagged values. 

For example, consider following campaign in Google Ads:

Campaign Clicks Cost
GoogleAds_C 100 10

 

If you've overriden GoogleAds_C to Foo, you'll see the following in Analytics:

Campaign Sessions Clicks Cost
GoogleAds_C 0 100 10
Foo 80 0 0
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