About click IDs

To attribute visits and conversions to specific interactions with your ads, you can set up Google Ads or Search Ads 360 to generate a case-sensitive ID when your ad is shown or clicked. This ID is called a click ID and is sent to your landing page in a URL parameter named gclid.

The click ID is required to enable some links between Google products (such as Search Ads 360 and Google Analytics), and you can use the ID to attribute offline conversions to specific site visits.

How to generate a click ID

Google Ads accounts managed by Search Ads 360 automatically generate click IDs. (Auto-tagging causes Google Ads to generate click IDs, and Search Ads 360 requires Google Ads accounts to use auto-tagging.) Google Ads generates a click ID when your ad is shown. As a result, if a user clicks on a particular ad impression multiple times, those clicks will be associated with only one click ID. Landing page visits for the exact same impression will share the same click ID.

To generate click IDs in other types of accounts, enable Google Analytics support or enable the conversion API service. Search Ads 360 will then generate and append a click ID just before redirecting clicks to your landing page.

Identifying which system generated the click ID

To identify if a click ID was generated by Search Ads 360 or Google Ads, Search Ads 360 adds the gclsrc parameter to your landing page URLs and specifies one of the following values:

  • gclsrc=ds: the click ID was generated by Search Ads 360 for an account other than Google Ads.

  • gclsrc=aw.ds: the click ID was generated by a Google Ads account that is managed by Search Ads 360.

  • gclsrc=: the parameter is empty if the click ID was generated by Google Ads but neither Google Analytics support nor the conversion API service are enabled in Search Ads 360.

In accounts that use parallel tracking, Search Ads 360 adds the gclsrc parameter to a Final URL Suffix just before trafficking updates to the engine. You won't see the parameter in Search Ads 360, but if you sign into the engine and view the Final URL Suffix, you'll see them in engine. 

In other types of engine accounts, Search Ads 360 appends the parameter just before forwarding a click to the landing page.

gclid and gclsrc are reserved parameter names: Search Ads 360 uses them and does not de-duplicate if you also use them.

If you want the click ID and click source to be available in additional parameters with names other than gclid and gclsrc, use Search Ads 360 custom parameters or macros.

gclid and gclsrc are required for measuring Floodlight conversions

When customers click your ads, two parameters are appended to your landing page URLs: gclid and gclsrc. To measure Floodlight conversions, Search Ads 360 requires these parameters to be passed to a page on your site that contains a global site tag or a conversion linker tag placed by Google Tag Manager. If your site removes these parameters or changes the values before your customer lands on a page that contains one of these tags, Search Ads 360 cannot attribute Floodlight conversions to your ads.

Learn more about using Floodlight to track conversions in Search Ads 360.

Testing click IDs from Google Ads

To test click IDs in Google Ads, the best practice is to click on a live ad that has been served in Google search results. If you click the Test button in Google Ads, there is no guarantee that the landing page URL will have a click ID.

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