About auto-tagging

Auto-tagging is a feature that you need to turn on before you can do the following:

  • Track conversions on your website on all browsers
  • Import conversion data into Google Ads from Google Analytics, as well as other external sources, such as your Customer Relation Management (CRM) system
  • Import Google Ads campaign and cost data into Google Analytics reports
  • Import Google Analytics site engagement metrics, such as bounce rate and average session duration, into Google Ads reporting

This article explains how auto-tagging works and how to enable it.

Note: If you would like to continue tracking Google Ads traffic using manual tags, you’ll need to allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging in your Google Analytics account’s Property Settings
Some browsers require auto-tagging to track conversions.

Why use it

Auto-tagging is a required feature, which when used with Google Ads conversion tracking or Google Analytics, allows you to see how effectively your ad clicks lead to valuable customer activity, such as website purchases, phone calls, app downloads, newsletter sign-ups, and more. Depending on the type of conversion you’re tracking, the setup process is different, so the first step in setting up conversion tracking is choosing a conversion source, or where your conversions come from.

Auto-tagging is also required for businesses that want to track offline conversions, such as sales that happened at your physical shop because of your online advertising.

How it works

After someone clicks your ad, auto-tagging adds a bit of additional information—a parameter called GCLID, short for "Google Click Identifier"—to the URLs people click through. For example, if someone clicks on your ad for www.example.com, the final URL will look like www.example.com/?gclid=123xyz. If you have auto-tagging enabled and have a Google Analytics tag on your website, the GCLID is stored in a new Google Analytics cookie on your site’s domain (learn more about how Google Ads tracks website conversions).

Sometimes the GCLID is created at the time of an impression, rather than a click. In those cases, if a user clicks the same ad again, the same GCLID will be used. In the click performance report, multiple clicks on the same ad by the same user are counted as multiple clicks in the same GCLID row.

A small percentage of websites don't allow arbitrary URL parameters and serve an error page when auto-tagging is turned on. Check with your webmaster to see if this applies to you, or turn on auto-tagging and do a test by clicking on your ad. If the link to your site works, then you can use auto-tagging. If you get an error, you'll need to turn auto-tagging off from your Google Ads account. Then, ask your webmaster to allow arbitrary URL parameters before turning it back on.

If your website uses redirects, it’s also important to make sure the GCLID is passed to the final landing page in order to track conversions. 

Set up auto-tagging

Auto-tagging is turned off by default. To turn it on, follow the steps below. If you’re unable to use auto-tagging, you can use manual tagging to import Google Ads data in Google Analytics.

Choose the Google Ads experience you're using. Learn more

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the gear menu, and select Account settings.My account and preferences tab
  3. In the "Tracking" section, next to "Auto-tagging," click Edit.
  4. To enable auto-tagging, check the box next to Destination URL Auto-tagging.
  5. Click Save changes.
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