What is GCLID Parameter?

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What is GCLID Parameter?d-tags
24 April 2024
Find out what the GCLID parameter is and why it plays such an important role in campaign attribution research and optimization of Google Ads advertising efforts!
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4min.

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What is the GCLID Parameter and Auto-Tagging?

The Google Click Identifier (GCLID) parameter is a unique tracking parameter passed in the URL when a user clicks on an ad. It is used in PPC advertising campaigns.

GCLID parameter in URL

source: Google Search

The main purpose of the parameter is to identify the most important data related to the click, which plays an important role when it comes to investigating the attribution of Google Ads campaigns. It consists of a unique code formed from numbers and letters, which allows Google to identify the source of each click generated from ads. Thanks to these parameters, we know which ad, keyword, ad extension, etc. generated the click leading to the website.

The automated addition of the GCLID parameter to Google Ads links is called auto-tagging. Auto-tagging is used to make each click on a Google Ads ad “understandable” for Google Analytics statistics. To use this parameter, it is necessary to check the “Auto-tagging” option in the Google Ads account settings.

Auto-tagging in Google Ads

source: Google Ads Panel

On the other hand, in order to observe the correct results of Google Ads campaigns in Google Analytics 4, be sure to connect both of these accounts with each other. To link these accounts, go to administration > Product links > Google Ads links.

Product links in Google Analytics 4

source: Google Analytics 4 Panel

 

What are the Benefits of Auto-Tagging with the GCLID Parameter?

Using the data obtained through automatic tagging with the GCLID parameter greatly simplifies the issue of optimizing advertising activities and helps make better decisions. With their support, you can associate the conversions performed by the user, such as purchase and form submission to specific campaigns, ad groups, keywords or ads. In this way, it is possible, for example, to see which keyword or ad creative contributes to the most purchases and which ones do not bring the desired results. This allows you to identify the ad setups and configurations with the greatest potential and make valuable inferences.

By linking specific clicks and conversions to ad spending, it is possible to determine the profitability and effectiveness of advertising efforts. This allows you to manage your budget more efficiently by avoiding budget burn-through, which in turn can result in an increase in key metrics such as ROAS and ROI.

Using GCLID, you can gain insight into which devices and locations are generating the most conversions. This data can be used to adjust your existing setup – focusing your budget on areas that are more likely to deliver results, or targeting the devices from which results have been most satisfactory so far. For example, noting a lack of conversions on mobile devices may indicate a problem in the design of the mobile site, which is worth examining carefully, but it could just as well indicate that users searching for a particular product prefer to purchase it on a desktop device.

GCLID can also be used to track offline conversions, which occur when a customer takes a desired action through channels outside the online environment. By including the parameter in offline conversion tracking systems, it is possible to link a given offline interaction or purchase to a specific online ad click that influenced the conversion. This attribution helps companies understand the impact and examine the effectiveness of online campaigns in achieving offline results.

What Parameters Does GCLID Track?

The data obtained through GCLID plays an extremely important role in analyzing the effectiveness of advertising activities and optimizing them. Below are the most important parameters obtained with its help.

Source and medium: the parameter records the source of the click, such as Google or a specific domain, and the medium that led to the click, such as the CPC for clicking on a sponsored link.

Device and browser: GCLID allows you to examine information about the type of device from which the user clicked on the ad (e.g., desktop, mobile phone or tablet), as well as the browser the user used when clicking on it.

Campaign and ad group: the parameter assigns to a given click the specific campaign and ad group through which it occurred – this is valuable data in view of optimizing the ad structure.

Ad content: the parameter also allows you to keep track of the specific content that was in the ad that led to the click – this way you can examine the most effective headlines or ad texts.

Keyword: if the click was caused by a keyword-targeted ad, the parameter will record the keyword associated with the ad, which allows you to illustrate the effectiveness of specific words.

Match type: If the click was caused by a keyword-targeted ad, GCLID can provide information about the match type used, such as broad match, phrase match or exact match, which helps evaluate the effectiveness of different types.

Placement: If an ad was displayed on a specific website or location in the GDN, the GCLID parameter can register this, which helps to better understand the effectiveness of different destinations.

How to Enable Auto-Tagging in Google Ads?

Auto-tagging is a feature that is enabled by default in every Google Ads account. You can find it in the panel by clicking on “Settings” and then selecting “Account Settings.” It will be visible among the other settings.

Enabled auto-tagging in Google Ads

source: Google Ads Panel

When this option is checked, the GCLID parameter will be added automatically to the URL when someone clicks on an ad emitted from the account.

What if the GCLID Parameter is not Enabled?

If the GCLID parameter is not included in the URL, Google Ads and Google Analytics can still track clicks and user behavior data, but the accuracy will be limited, especially for tracking conversions and campaign performance. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use the GCLID parameter to accurately track results from Google Ads.

Summary

The idea behind any advertising activity is to get more and more economic benefit and the highest possible return on spending. This can be hard without constant optimization and reacting to the results achieved so far. This is no different in the case of PPC campaigns – this is where data tracking parameters related to the user’s performance of given actions come to the rescue. The GCLID parameter easily makes it possible to get valuable data from each click on a Google Ads ad, which can be analyzed using, for example, Google Analytics 4. Therefore, when running Google Ads campaigns, it is worth making sure that auto-tagging in account settings remains enabled.

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

Author
Michał Szydlowski
Author
Michał Szydłowski

Junior SEM Specialist

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

Author
Michał Szydlowski
Author
Michał Szydłowski

Junior SEM Specialist

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