About auto-tagging

Auto-tagging is a feature that is needed to:

  • 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

Auto-tagging is now on by default for new accounts. This article explains how auto-tagging works and how to turn it on or turn it off.

Note: If you'd 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 check 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 turned on 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 view 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 web developer to check if this applies to you, or 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 web developer 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.

Note: When you create a new conversion action, auto-tagging will be activated automatically if you’re not already using cross-account conversion tracking. If you're using cross-account conversion tracking, you’ll need to turn on auto-tagging in each of your child accounts manually. Learn how to check if auto-tagging is turned on

Turn auto-tagging on or off

Auto-tagging is turned on by default for new accounts. To check the current status of auto-tagging in your account and turn it on or off, 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.

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.

An illustration of how to enable auto-tagging in Google Ads.

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Admin icon Admin Icon.
  2. Click Account settings.
  3. Click the Auto-tagging section.
  4. You'll be able to check the current status of auto-tagging for your account. To turn auto-tagging on or off, click to check or uncheck the box next to “Tag the URL that people click through from my ad”.
  5. Click Save.

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If you need more help with Google Analytics in Google Ads, contact us.

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