This article is about Google Analytics 4 properties. Refer to the Universal Analytics section if you're still using a Universal Analytics property, which will stop processing data on July 1, 2023 (October 1, 2023 for Analytics 360 properties).

[GA4] Tag your Google Ads final URLs

For Analytics to display details about keywords and costs from your linked Google Ads account, you need to 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 case outlined below.
We strongly recommend that you use auto-tagging to tag your Google Ads final URLs.
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.example.com, when a user clicks on your ad it appears in the address bar as:

www.example.com/?gclid=123xyz

Enable auto-tagging

To enable/disable auto-tagging:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Settings on the left page menu.
  3. Click Account settings at the top of the page.
  4. Click the Auto-tagging section. If the box next to “Tag the URL that people click through from my ad” is checked, auto-tagging is on. To turn if off, uncheck the box and click Save.

Learn more about the benefits of auto-tagging.

Special case

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 you can perform a brief test to see if your website allows arbitrary parameters. If you get an error, you may need to ask your webmaster to allow arbitrary URL parameters.

To check if an arbitrary URL parameter can be persisted to your landing page, follow these instructions:

  1. Copy the landing page URL from your Google Ads Landing pages page and paste into your browser.
  2. Add a test URL parameter manually.
  3. Navigate to the page by pressing enter.
  4. Check to see if the parameter you entered is still present in the URL box and the page loads successfully.
Example
Let’s say your landing page is: example.com/foo
 
Paste this into your URL box and add a test URL parameter (e.g., "bar"). Note that you need to prepend the parameter with a question mark (?), if there are no preceding question marks in the URL:

example.com/foo?bar=Tester123
 
If there is a preceding question mark, you need to preprend the parameter with an ampersand:

example2.com/foo?page=123&bar=Tester123
 
When you navigate to this URL, take a look and make sure you see "bar=Tester123" in the URL box. Note that your "bar" parameter is case-sensitive and should appear the same across all pages on your site.
 
Note: If you have other URL parameters, the "bar” should come after those parameters but before any fragments (also called "named anchors" and indicated by the presence of a #). It should look something like this:
 
example.com/foo?a=b&bar=Tester123#xyz

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.
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