This is Vrinda from the Google AdWords team, and today I’m going to be discussing a common issue that prevents AdWords data from tracking fully and accurately in Google Analytics: Invalid GCLID parameters.
If you’ve ever come across the message below in your Google Analytics account or noticed a discrepancy in AdWords data reported in your Analytics account, then the first thing you should check is whether you have GCLID tracking enabled. How, you may ask? Read on:
What is GCLID?
GCLID or Google Click Identifier is a tracking parameter used by Google to enable data sharing between Google AdWords and Google Analytics. Whenever someone clicks on your ad, Google will append a unique GCLID parameter onto the URL, thereby allowing us to track this data back to AdWords.
Do I have GCLID enabled?
You can do a quick check to see if your URLs are being tagged with the GCLID parameter. First, confirm you have “auto tagging” turned on:
- Sign into your AdWords account
- Navigate to Account Settings (Under the gear icon in the top right corner of your page) --> Preferences
- On the Preferences page, find the Tracking section and click "Edit"
- Ensure Destination URL Auto-tagging is checked off
Once you’ve confirmed this, copy one of your AdWords Final URLs into a new browser window and perform the following test:
- Paste the URL into your address bar, but don't load it yet
- In the address bar, append a test AdWords autotagging query parameter, like gclid=TeSter-123. This makes the full URL in your address bar: http://www.example.com/?gclid=TeSter-123.
- Load the URL
- When the URL loads, if the gclid=TeSter-123 parameter is still there, you are good to go. But if the GCLID parameter drops, your URLs are not getting tracked properly.
How do I fix this?
If your GCLID parameter is dropping, then get in touch with your webmaster or someone with access to your website server and ensure that it allows URL parameters. Once the web server allows for parameters (which you can check again using the test above), Analytics should go back to recording AdWords data as normal.
I hope that solves any confusion you might have with this issue! You can read more about URL Parameters, and feel free to contact the AdWords Support team in case you have any other questions. You can always leave a comment below as well.
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