2.5K members online now
2.5K members online now
Use AdWords conversion tracking and reporting to measure your results. Have a question about Google Analytics? Post it here, on the Google Analytics Community!
Guide Me

How to test gclid is being sent

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭




I have autotagging turned on in Adwords, my site records the URL requests that hit it and I'm seeing PPC visits in analytics.


I'm also sending a couple of custom parameters, a sample Final URL will look like this:{KeyWord}


with Adwords adding &gclid=xxxxx



Quite a few of the URLs I'm recording hitting my site from Adwords have my source and kw parameters, but no gclid parameter. 


Also, the vast majority of my ecommerce conversions are showing as Direct traffic in analytics, rather than paid (I've read this is a symptom of lost gclid). Some of my highest spend ad groups are showing 0 ecommerce conversions, even looking at the different attribution models.



I've seen that redirects can cause an issue, but have thoroughly checked URLs that are missing gclid, by adding it manually and it gets recorded, and by taking final URLs from AdGroups and adding gclids. I can't get the gclid's to drop.


Also.... I have instances in my database of the exact same page, Ad group and keyword sometimes having gclid and sometimes not. It APPEARS to be completely intermittent.


My custom parameters, source and kw, are always working and not being dropped, which makes me wonder if Google is always sending gclid, rather than it being a problem with my site.


All URLs are set per ad, not a mix of ad and keyword.



Is there any way to simulate a full ad from google WITH gclid? Not just manually added but the full actual url with filled parameters, so I can check my ads to see that gclid is being added to all of them?


Is there anything else that anyone can think of to check? I'm at a bit of a loss as to why some are, some aren't. 


Thank you






2 Expert replyverified_user

How to test gclid is being sent

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Let me ping our Gclid programming specialist 

@petebardo ?

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

How to test gclid is being sent

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi Dave,

I use manual and auto-tagging together and have never seen this happen. Seeing as your custom parameters are being passed along, it doesn't seem likely it's a redirect problem.

The only thing I can think of is there is a limit to the length of the query string, 1024 characters. If your custom parameters cause a string longer than that, the gclid may be omitted. Find your longest combination of ad group name and keyword, then add a gclid value. That gclid value must be the full length of a provided gclid. As of March 31, 2014, that could be as many as 100 characters. I really don't see this as very likely, but it is something to check.

I'm afraid the only way to check if the gclid is appended is to click on your own ad. As this appears to be an intermittent problem, it's going to be difficult to track down.

BTW, I import eCommerce transactions as conversions. It hasn't worked for quite some time. AW rep advised me to change from this as it doesn't always work as expected. He suggested using either tag manager or the AW conversion code.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help for you.

Best of Luck!




petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

How to test gclid is being sent

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thank you so much for taking the time to write, Pete.


Thanks for the suggestion of querystring length, I hadn't thought of that, however in this case the longest possible combination I can find is 160 characters. 


After a big meeting with my boss yesterday to explain how the conversion data is unreliable atm, coupled with the fact that all our text ads need expanding, I'm going to give the entire account a long overdue overhaul.


The account isn't too massive so I'm going to recreate the best performing ads from new, in a new structure that better suits our business as it is now. I know it's not very scientific, but I'm hoping this problem stems from the fact the Adwords account as it stands now is a mish-mash of many, many years worth of input from various people.


If I still have trouble, I'll switch to manual UTM tagging. I know gclid links a lot more info, but my main priority is getting correct Adwords to transaction attribution.


Thank you again,