What is GCLID? Google’s GCLID Explained

TABLE OF CONTENT

    Google Click ID (GCLID) is an important tool for tracking marketing campaigns and measuring their performance in Google Ads. It is an encrypted anonymous identifier used by Google Ads to help keep track of visitors from different marketing channels. GCLID helps marketers better understand which campaigns are driving results and measure ROI. This thorough guide will provide you with a complete understanding of Google Click ID, including what it is, how it works, when you should use it, and the most effective way to employ it. We will further discuss some GCLID monitoring advice that will allow you to gain maximum return on investment when managing advertisement campaigns.

    What is GCLID ?

    What is GCLID

    Google Click ID (GCLID) serves as a distinctive identifier that plays a crucial role in tracking ad clicks and attributing them to specific campaigns and keywords. This valuable information empowers advertisers to optimize their campaigns and enhance ad performance.

    When a user clicks on an ad, Google utilizes the GCLID to track conversions and attribute them back to the precise ad campaign, ad group, and keywords that triggered the click. This information furnishes an understanding of how the campaign is running, which enables advertisers to determine successful campaigns and avenues of improvement.

    The Google Click Identifier can be combined with other tracking tools, like Google Analytics, to follow up on successes on different devices. As an example, a user may click on an advertisement on their desktop and then choose to buy on their mobile device. By incorporating the GCLID with other tracking tools, advertisers can gain a comprehensive overview of their ad performance.

    How does GCLID work ?

    How does GCLID work

    When someone clicks on an advertisement, a GCLID is automatically attached to the URL which records the user’s progress. This enables marketers to monitor the actions taken by the user on the website and evaluate their behaviour. For example, GCLID can track how long users stay on a page, which pages they view, and even which products they purchase. Additionally, GCLID can provide insights into the user’s demographics and past browsing history. This allows for the personalization of ads and helps marketers create more targeted and effective campaigns.

    Who can benefit from using Google Click ID (GCLID) ?

    Who can benefit from using Google Click ID (GCLID)

    GCLID is useful for businesses that want to optimize their advertising efforts. By examining the information obtained from GCLID, you can determine which campaigns are most successful and make informed decisions in order to enhance campaigns that aren’t doing well. This can enable you to use your marketing budget more efficiently and benefit from an improved rate of return. Additionally, if you are making use of tracking applications such as Google Analytics or other marketing analytics tools, incorporating GCLID into your tracking structure can present a full view of your campaign’s performance. It enables you to track conversions across multiple devices and gain insights into the customer journey from click to conversion.

    Importance of Google Click ID (GCLID) 

    The performance of your Google Ads campaigns must be tracked accurately, and the Google Click ID (GCLID) is very important in the process. When you monitor the GCLID, you can measure how successful your campaigns have been, and detect or solve any problems which may come up.

    When analyzing your campaign data, the Google Click Identifier allows you to investigate why clicks on your ads may not be turning into conversions. By examining the GCLID, you can determine if there are any problems with your ads or website that need to be addressed. The troubleshooting process enables you to optimize your campaigns and ensure that your ads generate meaningful results.

    It’s important to note that multiple clicks on an ad can generate multiple GCLIDs, potentially impacting your data accuracy. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing GCLID before making a decision.

    Steps to add Google Click ID (GCLID) to Google Analytics Universal 

    Steps to add Google Click ID (GCLID) to Google Analytics

    In order to access the Google Click ID (GCLID) data with Google Analytics, you must create a new “Custom Dimension” in your Google Analytics Universal account. Here’s what to do to set it up:

    • You need to visit the Google Analytics home page.
    • Access your “Admin Page” by clicking the button located at the bottom left of the screen.
    • Select your desired account from the left-hand side, then choose the appropriate property from the middle panel.
    • Tap on “Custom Definitions” and after that select “Custom Dimensions”.
    • Tap on the “+ New Custom Dimension” tab.
    • Provide a name for your new custom dimension, such as “GCLID,” and select “User” as the scope.
    • Click the “Create” button to create the custom dimension.
    • Once you have successfully created the Custom Dimension, refer to the table displaying all the custom dimensions. Take note of the “Index” assigned to the custom dimension you just created (GCLID). This index will be required for the next steps.

    By creating this Custom Dimension, you are now ready to collect GCLID data in Google Analytics Universal. This will enable you to track and analyze the performance of your GCLID campaigns effectively.

    Steps to Acquire GCLID from URL

    To acquire the GCLID from the URL and transfer it to Google Analytics, you can craft a new variable in Google Tag Manager. These are the steps you should implement to do this:

    • You need to visit Google Tag Manager.
    • Access the “Variables” page by clicking the “Variables” button in the left sidebar.
    • On the User-Defined Variables panel, click the “New” button.
    • Configure your new variable by accessing the “Variable Configuration” panel.
    • Select “URL” as the variable type.
    • Choose “Query” as the component type.
    • Enter “GCLID” for the query key.
    • Provide a name for the variable, and click the “Save” button in the top right corner.

    By creating this variable in Google Tag Manager, you can separate the GCLID from the URL and store it in the variable. The next step is to send this variable to Google Analytics when users visit your website.

    Steps to Send GCLID Variables from Google Tag Manager

    To send the GCLID (Google Click ID) variable from Google Tag Manager to Google Analytics Universal, follow these steps:

    • If you don’t have an Analytics Tag to send data to Google Analytics Universal, navigate to the “Tags” page by clicking the “Tags” button in the left sidebar.
    • Create a new tag by clicking “New” in the Tags panel.
    • Configure your new tag by accessing the “Tag Configuration” panel.
    • Pick Google Analytics: Universal Analytics as the Tag type.
    • Choose “New Variable” in Google Analytics Settings
    • In the variable configuration, you need to put your “Tracking ID.”
    • Tap on “More Settings” and after that “Custom Dimensions.”
    • Click on the button + Add Custom Dimension.
    • For the “Index,” enter the index number of your custom dimension that you noted in the previous steps.
    • For the “Dimension Value,” you need to click the plus icon and then select the GTM variable you created for GCLID.
    • Tap on the “Save” button to save the Variable Configuration.
    • Adjust the trigger for this tag by accessing the “Triggering” panel.
    • Select “All Pages.”
    • Provide a name for the new tag and click “Save” to save it.

    By following these steps, you can create a new tag in Google Tag Manager that will send the GCLID variable to Google Analytics Universal for tracking and analysis.

    If You Already Setup Analytics Tag

    If you already have an existing Analytics Tag set up to send data to Google Analytics Universal, follow these steps to configure it and include the GCLID (Google Click ID) variable:

    • Visit the “Tags” page in the “Tags” button given in the left sidebar.
    • Locate and click on your existing “Google Analytics: Universal Analytics” tag to access its configuration.
    • You need to tap the info button in your Google Analytics settings.
    • In the settings panel, click on “More Settings” and then select “Custom Dimensions.”
    • Click the button + Add Custom Dimension.
    • Enter the “Index” as the index number of your custom dimension noted in the previous steps.
    • For the “Dimension Value,” click the plus button and choose the GTM variable you created for GCLID in the earlier steps.
    • Click on the “Save” button to save the variable configuration.
    • Finally, click “Save” to save any changes made to the tag.

    By applying these instructions, you can adjust your ‘Google Analytics: Universal Analytics’ tag to include the GCLID parameter, thus allowing Google Analytics Universal to track and analyze GCLID data.

    Steps to add Google Click ID (GCLID) to Google Analytics 4

    Steps to add Google Click ID (GCLID) to Google Analytics 4

    To prepare Google Analytics 4 for collecting GCLID (Google Click ID) data, follow these steps to create a new custom definition:

    • Go to the Google Analytics home page.
    • Navigate to the “Configure” page by clicking the button on the left panel.
    • Tap on the button “Custom Definitions.”
    • Tap the button + Create Custom Dimensions.
    • Select “Event” as the scope and enter “GCLID” for the Event parameter.
    • Name the dimension as your “Google Click ID.”
    • Tap on the “Save” option to create a new custom dimension.

    By completing these steps, you will set up Google Analytics 4 to collect GCLID data through the creation of a new custom dimension called “Google Click ID.” This will enable the tracking and analysis of GCLID information in Google Analytics 4.

    Capturing the GCLID from the URL

    To capture the GCLID (Google Click ID) from the URL and send it to Google Analytics, we can create a new variable in Google Tag Manager (GTM). Follow these steps:

    • Visit the Google Tag Manager.
    • Go to the page name “Variables” button in the left sidebar.
    • Click the “New” button on the User-Defined Variables panel.
    • In the “Variable Configuration” panel, configure your new variable.
    • Choose “URL” as the variable type.
    • Select “Query” as the component type.
    • Enter “gclid” for the query key.
    • Name your variable as desired, and click the “Save” button in the top right corner.

    By following these steps, you will create a variable in Google Tag Manager that can separate the GCLID from the URL and store it. This variable will be used to send the GCLID data to Google Analytics during user visits.

    To send the GCLID (Google Click ID) from the variable we created in Google Tag Manager (GTM) to Google Analytics 4, we need to set up a new tag. Follow the steps below based on your situation:

    If you don’t have an Analytics Tag to send data to Google Analytics 4:

    • Go to Google Tag Manager and navigate to the “Tags” page by clicking the “Tags” button in the left sidebar.
    • You need to click on the “New” button that appears in the Tags panel in order to create a new tag.
    • Configure your new tag by selecting “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration” as the tag type.
    • In the Tag Configuration panel, enter your “Measurement ID” (if you’re unsure how to obtain this, refer to the support page for guidance).
    • Go to the “User Properties” and then tap the “Add Row”.
    • For “Property Name”, enter “GCLID,” which corresponds to the user property of the custom definition you created earlier.
    • For “Value,” you need to tap the plus icon and then select the GTM variable 
    • Adjust the triggering settings in the “Triggering” panel, selecting “All Pages.”
    • Give the new tag a name of your choice, and click “Save” to save it.

    If you already have an Analytics Tag to send data to Google Analytics 4:

    • Navigate to the “Tags” page in Google Tag Manager by clicking the “Tags” button in the left sidebar.
    • Click on your existing “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration” tag to edit it.
    • In the “Tag Configuration” panel, make the necessary changes to your Tag Configuration.
    • Click “Fields to Set” and then click “Add Row.”
    • For “Field Name,” enter “GCLID,” which corresponds to the user property of the custom definition you created earlier.
    • For “Value,” you need to tap on the plus icon and then select the GTM variable 
    • Click “Save” to save the changes on the tag.

    By following these steps, you will set up a new tag in Google Tag Manager to send the GCLID variable to Google Analytics 4, ensuring that the GCLID data is captured and stored for analysis.

    FAQs

    Why is GCLID important?

    GCLID is crucial for accurate tracking and attribution of conversions in Google Ads campaigns. It helps advertisers understand which ads and keywords drive the most conversions, allowing them to optimize their campaigns for better performance and return on investment.

     Can GCLID be customized?

    No, GCLID cannot be customized by advertisers. It is automatically generated and added to the URL by Google Ads when a user clicks on an ad. The purpose of the GCLID is to provide a unique identifier for tracking and attribution purposes.

    Can GCLID be used with other tracking platforms?

    Yes, GCLID can be used with other tracking platforms such as Google Analytics or third-party analytics tools. By including the GCLID parameter in the destination URL, advertisers can track the performance and effectiveness of their Google Ads campaigns in conjunction with other tracking metrics.

    How long does GCLID remain active?

    The GCLID parameter remains active for a limited period, typically 30 days. This means that if a user clicks on an ad and returns to the website within this timeframe, the GCLID will still be present in the URL, allowing for accurate tracking of their actions.

    Can GCLID be manually added or modified?

    No, advertisers cannot manually add or modify the GCLID parameter. It is automatically generated by Google Ads and should not be altered. Attempting to modify the GCLID can lead to tracking inaccuracies and may violate Google Ads policies.

    Enabling auto-tagging does what? 

    By using auto-tagging, you can gain insights into the performance of your ads, including which keywords and campaigns are driving conversions. It also allows for a seamless integration between Google Ads and other tracking tools, making it easier to monitor and optimize your advertising efforts.

    Conclusion

    Upon completing the aforementioned steps, you will have access to the GCLID data in your Google Analytics reports. If you are interested in programmatically accessing this data, we recommend referring to our post on utilizing the GA4 Reporting API to fetch GCLID information. Another noteworthy action you might consider is utilizing the GCLID for Offline Conversion imports into your Google Ads Account.

    The Google Click ID (GCLID) serves as a unique identifier generated by Google for every click on an ad. Businesses can leverage this ID to evaluate the effectiveness of their Google Ads campaigns. Whenever someone clicks on a Google ad, the GCLID is automatically appended to the ad’s destination URL.

    This streamlined approach enables businesses to effortlessly track the performance of their ads by monitoring clicks and conversions. It’s crucial to note that the GCLID has a validity period of 30 days, necessitating its utilization within this timeframe to track campaign results effectively. It’s important to emphasize that the GCLID is primarily intended for businesses running Google Ads campaigns. If you are not currently engaged in such campaigns, there is no need to implement the GCLID.

    About author
    Gurpreet Kaur
    Gurpreet Kaur is a highly-skilled and exponentially experienced content writer at IndeedSEO. She has a passion for content writing and has written several quality blogs, articles, press reports, and more in several niches. Her expertise has helped several of our clients achieve their objectives and sustainable results in the long term.

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