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CPC data not collected

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

There are 2 primary situations that can prevent cost-per-click data from being collected:

 

Third-party redirects drop Google click ID

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

How does the GCLID get 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.

Here's an 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, dropping the GCLID parameter.

This situation can also occur with manually-applied campaign information parameters, such as www.example.com?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc.

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.

How do I know if my website is dropping the GCLID parameter?

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

 

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.

 

Untagged landing pages

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

If you have a first-party redirect in which your landing page redirects to another page on your site, 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.

Related resources

Check if AdWords auto-tagging works.

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