Configure AdWords for Analytics

Tag your AdWords destination URLs

In order for Analytics to display details about your AdWords keywords and costs, you must do one of the following:

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

We strongly recommend using auto-tagging.

How auto-tagging Works

Auto-tagging automatically imports AdWords data into Analytics. Combining AdWords 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 AdWords 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 Destination URL 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 on your ad. 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 AdWords 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 AdWords data.

Use caution when manually tagging your links:

  • Tag your actual Destination URLs with parameters. If you try to use a redirect from a Destination URL to another URL + parameters, your AdWords 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 AdWords account for purposes other than Analytics tracking and (2) wish to use manual tagging for Analytics, then you must enable the following setting to avoid data discrepancies:

  1. Log in to Analytics.
  2. Click Admin in the upper right to open the administrative interface.
  3. Choose the relevant account and property.
  4. Click Property Settings.
  5. Click Advanced Settings.
  6. Select the Allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging (GCLID values) checkbox.
  7. Click Apply.

Note: if you have linked your DoubleClick Search account to your Analytics account, you should NOT enable this setting. Doing so will break the account linkage.

Resources

  • Learn more about determining whether auto-tagging will work for your site.