[GA4] Benefits of Google Ads auto-tagging

Why you should use Google Ads auto-tagging whenever possible.

Using Google Ads auto-tagging exclusively provides several benefits over manual tagging. It:

  • Allows you to import Analytics key events into Google Ads Key Event Tracking
  • Saves you the work of manually tagging every final URL
  • Eliminates the errors you can introduce when you attempt to manually tag each URL. For example, utm_source=Google is different from utm_source=google
  • Enables you to build more detailed audiences based on Google Ads dimensions (for example, ad group)
  • Offers more detailed Analytics reporting 

Auto-tagging vs. manual tagging reporting

Manual tagging can provide data for a basic set of traffic-source dimensions. When you use auto-tagging, however, you can see data for several additional dimensions, including:

  • Google Ads account name
  • Google Ads ad group ID
  • Google Ads ad group name
  • Google Ads ad network type
  • Google Ads customer ID
  • Google Ads keyword text
  • Google Ads query

You'll have access to these new dimensions across reporting and explorations, as well as a dedicated Google Ads report accessible from the Acquisition overview report.

In addition, any reporting features that become available in the future will only be available if you use auto-tagging.

UTM overriding

When you use auto-tagging and manual tagging at the same time, auto-tagging always takes precedence and Analytics attributes all traffic data based on the gclid information. When gclid is not available, manual parameters are used for attribution.

How to tell if you're using manual 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.

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