Troubleshoot your sitewide tagging

Note: The global site tag (gtag.js) is now the Google tag. With this change, new and existing gtag.js installations will get new capabilities to help you do more, improve data quality, and adopt new features – all without additional code. Learn more About the Google tag.

For the most accurate measurement of your Google Ads campaigns, make sure you are using a "sitewide" tag, which will be able to set cookies in the same domain as your site (known as first-party cookies). If you have auto-tagging enabled, those first-party cookies will be able to store the GCLID (Google click identifier) and AUID (Advertiser user ID) parameter after a click happens. These cookies store a unique identifier for a user or the ad click that brought the user to your site. Then, when the same tags fire on the conversion page, it will use the stored GCLID and AUID to properly measure conversions.

If you’ve already implemented one of our sitewide tag solutions (such as, Google tag, or Google Tag Manager) and your account is still being flagged, follow the steps below to guarantee your conversions are being measured accurately.

Resolve your unverified or tag inactive conversions

If your conversion shows “unverified” or “tag inactive” in the tracking status column of the conversions table, you can use Tag Assistant to verify your conversions. Tag Assistant is a tool that lets you verify your conversion actions directly on your website from your Google Ads account. As you click through each page of your website, debug information will appear in the Tag Assistant badge and give you instructions to resolve the unverified or inactive tag conversions. For instructions, go to Use Tag Assistant to troubleshoot your unverified or inactive conversion actions.

Check the status of your tags

To further enhance your site's data accuracy and streamline the troubleshooting process, consider using the Tag Diagnostics tool in the Google tag section in Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager. Tag Diagnostics scans the tags on your website and provides a detailed report of their quality, categorized by statuses such as excellent, good, needs attention, and urgent. Each status includes detected issues and step-by-step solutions to resolve them. When an issue is fixed, the tool updates the tag’s status. Through Tag Diagnostics, you can quickly identify and address potential issues.

Check if you have enabled auto-tagging

In order to accurately measure conversions, you need to enable auto-tagging in your Google Ads account. This will allow Google to automatically add the GCLID and AUID parameters to your landing page after an ad click happens, which will then be stored in a first-party cookie that is being deployed by one of our sitewide tagging solutions. For instructions, go to About auto-tagging. You can also check if Google Ads auto-tagging works.

Auto-tagging is compatible with ValueTrack parameters. If you need to add additional parameters to your URL, check Set up tracking with ValueTrack parameters.

Check if all of your pages have a sitewide tag being fired

A sitewide tracking solution is needed on all pages in order to collect the GCLID and store it in a first-party cookie. If some landing pages do not contain a sitewide tag, some clicks leading to them cannot be tracked. In order to check which landing pages are being used in your ads, click “Landing pages” from the page menu on the left.

You can look at your “conversion tracking compatibility rate” to see the estimated percentage of clicks where conversions can be tracked with a first-party cookie on the landing page, which is the most accurate way to track conversions. A rate less than 100% means that some of your conversions aren't being tracked on some browsers. Also if you are using Legacy Tags, the report may indicate that you should upgrade your tags to the Google tag or use Google Tag Manager. Learn more about Understanding your conversion tracking compatibility rate

Enable conversion linker if you’re using Google Tag Manager

The conversion linker tag is used to store click data in first-party cookies associated with your domain. This functionality helps ensure that conversions are measured effectively. Deploy a conversion linker tag on any page where visitors may land after they click an ad or promotion. It's recommended that you have the conversion linker tag fire on all pages.

Check for legacy tags on your conversion pages

Make sure you have removed any legacy tags (such as old Google Ads Conversion Tracking or old Floodlight tags) from your converting pages to avoid double counting. In order to check that, you can use Google Tag Assistant.

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.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Goals icon Goals Icon.
  2. Click the Conversions drop down in the section menu and then click Summary.
  3. Select a conversion.
  4. In the top page menu, select Webpages and check if there are old tags in place. If there are, remove them and only keep the sitewide tag (for example, the Google tag or Google Tag Manager).

If using Google Analytics, make sure properties are linked to Google Ads correctly

When linking Analytics properties to your Google Ads account, make sure the Analytics properties are linked to the Google Ads account where the conversions are created. If conversions are created within a Google Ads manager account (MCC), the Analytics properties must be linked to that account, rather than to the child accounts using those MCC conversion actions.

Check for multiple domains or multiple Google Ads accounts

If you have more than one domain in your Google Ads account, make sure you have a sitewide tag solution in all of them. If using the Google Ads linked to Google Analytics solution, make sure you linked all Google Analytics accounts/views to your Google Ads account.

If you have more than one Google Ads account, make sure all conversions in each account are covered by a sitewide tag solution. It could be that Google Analytics is not linked to all accounts, or that you have multiple domains and some contain sitewide tags while others don’t.

Check the domain of conversion pages

The converting page needs to be the same domain as the landing page of the ad, or you'll need to implement cross-domain tracking (the Google tag, Google Analytics Instructions, Google Tag Manager Instructions). Try to see if there's a pattern, for example, a different domain, path or subdomain. We can differentiate 3 cases:

  • Same domain as landing pages: No need to change
  • Customer domain, but not the same as landing page: Customer needs a cross-domain solution
  • Third-party domain: This will not work in the long-term, unless that third party is willing to implement sitewide tags

Check if cookies are still available in conversion pages

In order to measure conversions accurately, the GCLIDs and AUIDs captured in first-party cookies on your landing pages have to be available in the browser on your conversion pages as well. For this, cookies need to be available in the browser when a customer converts. Check with your developer team to make sure cookies are not being deleted by your site before customers get to conversion pages (you can use the Developer Tools to test conversions and check if the GCLID will be passed through the URL and stored in a cookie.)

Make sure you didn't remove the JavaScript portion of your tag

Using the <img> tag (aka pixel-only implementation) might impact tracking on certain browsers, make sure to use the full JavaScript sitewide tag on your website.

Don't fire the conversion tracking from within an iframe

Do not implement your tags within iframes, as this can lead to challenges with accurate measurement. Iframes may be used when there are embedded forms or payment/login portals on your page. Tags deployed within iframes may also require the updated SameSite settings as described in the Chrome blog post announcing new requirements rolling out in 2020.

Do not use existing tags (for example, Floodlight tags or other tracking solutions) to deploy your conversion tracking tag (aka piggybacking). These tags will fire from another domain and therefore their deployed cookies won't be considered first-party cookies.

Make sure to check all steps above in all your sites (including mobile site)

If your Google Ads campaigns are sending traffic to different site domains and / or you have mobile versions of those sites, it's important to install sitewide tags correctly across all yours. Also, make sure to check all steps described in these articles to ensure all conversions are being measured accurately.

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