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CPC data not collected

Learn the primary causes of cost-per-click data not being collected.

To see AdWords campaign information for a given ad in your Analytics reports, your Analytics web property must be linked to the AdWords account that owns the ad. If you see "(not set)" in Analytics reports that use AdWords data, that means that Analytics wasn’t able to join the AdWords ad information with the Analytics session information.

Analytics can be missing AdWords ad information for a few different reasons. However, do note that click info can occasionally be lost even if you have everything setup right. It’s very normal to have a small percentage of "(not set)" values. For example, if someone copied one of your ad URLs and posted it on social media, the gclid would expire and users that click the link would be attributed to a "(not set)" campaign.

AdWords account not linked to Analytics view

In order for Analytics to be able to retrieve AdWords ad information, Analytics must be linked to AdWords. Linking an AdWords account to an Analytics view requires two steps:

  1. The Analytics web property must be linked to the AdWords account that owns the ad
  2. The AdWords data must be made available on the Analytics view whose reports you are viewing

Learn how to link Analytics to AdWords.

Untagged landing pages

For CPC data to be associated with an AdWords click, the landing page must be tracked with the Analytics tracking code. If the landing page is not tracked, the AdWords click information is lost and the Analytics session can't be attributed to the click.

If you have a landing page redirect to another page on your site and you also want to track the page that performs the redirect, you must also ensure that the Analytics tracking code on your landing page has time to execute before the redirect occurs. You may need to add a delay to the redirect, so that campaign parameters can be recorded.

Alternatively, you can pass the parameters in the URL to the redirect's target page. When the Analytics tracking code on the target page reads the parameters in the URL, it will associate the session with the proper campaign information.

Learn more about tagging pages on your site.

Third-party redirects drop campaign-related URL parameters

When an AdWords account is using auto-tagging, AdWords will append a click ID parameter to ad destination URLs. Analytics uses this parameter to retrieve attribution information from AdWords. This parameter is called a GCLID.

How the GCLID gets dropped

If an AdWords ad destination URL redirects to a second URL, then the redirect must transfer the GCLID to the second URL. If the redirect doesn't transfer the GCLID, Analytics can't tell that the session came from an AdWords click.

If your ad destination URLs redirect to secondary destinations, make sure that your ad destination logic properly transfers Analytics-related campaign parameters to their secondary destinations.

Third-party redirect example

Let's say you own advertiser.com, and have your ads direct to a third-party site that redirects to your landing page.

  • A user clicks an AdWords ad which sends them to www.example.com?gclid=XDF
  • www.example.com?gclid=XDF redirects the browser to www.advertiser.com/product.html, forgetting the GCLID parameter.
  • When the user arrives on your site, the GCLID is not present. As a result, Analytics can't tell that he came from an AdWords ad.

Mobile site example

Let's say you own the desktop site advertiser.com, and you also have a mobile subdomain on your site at mobile.advertiser.com. You have ads that direct to your desktop site. Your desktop site redirects to your mobile site if the user has a mobile browser.

  • A user with a mobile browser clicks an AdWords ad which directs them to www.advertiser.com?gclid=XDF
  • www.advertiser.com?gclid=XDF notices that the user is using a mobile browser and redirects them to mobile.advertiser.com, forgetting the GCLID parameter.
  • When the user arrives on your mobile site, the GCLID is not present. As a result, Analytics can't tell that he came from an AdWords ad.

Manually-tagged parameters

This situation can also occur with manually-applied campaign information parameters, such as www.example.com?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc. Make sure that your redirects propagate the manual tagging parameters if you use them.

How to know if the GCLID is getting dropped

You can test if the GCLID parameter gets lost on your site due to a redirect by doing the following:

  1. Copy the destination URL of your ad
  2. Paste this into your browser's URL bar and add a test parameter at the end:

    ?gclid=123-abCD
  3. Press Enter
  4. Examine the URL of the resulting page.

If you don't see this test parameter in your browser's URL bar any more, it was lost due to the redirect.

Note that the GCLID parameter is proceeded by a ? when it's the first or only parameter. Append the GCLID to the URL with an & when there are more parameters.

Example:

www.example.com?utm_campaign=summersale&gclid=123-abCD

Check if AdWords auto-tagging works.

Google Tag Assistant Recordings is a great tool for determining if redirects are propagating the GCLID parameter as you expect. Try the test above while Google Tag Assistant is recording.

See an example of what Google Tag Assistant Recordings report looks like when it detects a lost GCLID.

Manually-tagged ad destination URLs missing information

If you aren’t using AdWords autotagging and are instead manually-tagging your AdWords ad destination URLs, make sure that they’re fully-tagged.

Learn more about manual tagging.

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