The benefits of auto-tagging

Using auto-tagging exclusively provides a number of benefits over manual tagging:

  • It saves you the work of manually tagging every destination URL.

  • It 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.

  • When you attempt to use both manual and auto-tagging, you get data discrepancies.

  • Your only option for importing Analytics goals and transactions into AdWords Conversion Tracking is to use auto-tagging.

  • Auto-tagging offers more detailed reporting in Google Analytics (see below).

Auto-tagging vs. manual tagging reporting

Manual tagging provides only five dimensions of data about a visit from AdWords:

  • campaign
  • source
  • medium
  • content (creative)
  • keyword

Auto-tagging, however, provides those five dimensions, and a number of additional dimensions, including:

  • Query Match Type (How your keyword was actually matched to the search query)
  • Ad Group (The ad group associated with the keyword/creative and click)
  • Destination URL (AdWords Destination URL)
  • Ad Format (text, display, video)
  • Ad Distribution Network (Google Search)
  • Placement Domain (the domain on the content network where your ads were displayed)
  • AdWords Customer ID (the unique three-part number that's assigned to your AdWords account)

When you use auto-tagging, you get data for some additional reports that aren't available when you use manual tagging:

  • Hour of Day
  • Placements (Where your ads on the content network were placed)
  • Keyword Positions (What position your ad appeared in on Google Search)

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

How can I tell if I'm using manual tagging?

In your AdWords account, open the Campaign tab, click the Dimensions tab, and then from the View menu, select Destination URL.

If the Destination URL contains 1 or more of the following query parameters you are using manual tagging:

  • utm_source
  • utm_medium
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_content
  • utm_term

For example, if your Destination URL is, then the manually tagged version would look something like:

You can also check to see whether you also are using auto-tagging at the same time from the My Account tab > Preferences > Tracking.

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