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What is GCLID & why you should care about it?

Image Sources: Google, Adwords UI

Meet Joey, who is a digital marketer. Joey is worried because he is not able to track conversions perfectly in Adwords. Few of his clients are having issues in placing pixels on their websites for conversion actions, while some are using 3rd party analytics services, while others have online lead generation and offline sales.

Joey is never getting the actual number of conversions that his Adwords campaigns are bringing. This is stopping him from taking well-informed decisions regarding strategies and improving performance. He is also not getting an end-to-end conversion report. In case an offline conversion is happening because of an online lead, which campaign, ad group, keyword or targeting is really driving business?

One day, he shared his problem with one of his friends, who also works in the same profession, and he asked that why does he not use GCLID and import conversion to solve all of these issues?

As the name suggests, a GCLID or “Google Click Identifier” or “Google Click ID” is nothing but a unique tracking parameter that is generated everytime an ad is clicked on, only when URL auto-tagging is enabled in Adwords.


In other words, when an ad is clicked after we are redirected to the landing page, a parameter is appended in the format “www.destinationurl.com?gclid parameter”. Its main purpose is to send data back and forth between Adwords and Google Analytics. This data allows you to view post-click activity in Google Analytics, such as time spent on site, pages per visit, etc.


How to check if your auto-tagging is on?

Go to “Account Settings” in “Settings”, and in preferences check if your auto-tagging is enabled.

But what does it have to do with conversions?

Well, you can actually track any type of conversions, if you can combine GCLID with Importing Conversion. You can actually solve any such scenario where getting the absolute number of conversion is an issue, or tracking an offline sale is a problem.

Imported Conversion is a type of conversion which lets us upload conversions that happen across a unique GCLID into the Adwords server and it would attribute the conversion value back to all levels from campaigns to ad groups, to keywords, to ads and targetings.

This can help you to track:
● Any kind of offline conversions.
● Any kind of conversions from your CMS.

But how to implement it?


Step 1: Setting up Import Conversion Action

1. You can do this from Tools>Conversions> “+Conversion”>Import
2. Assign it a name, value, conversion window, count, and category
3. Save it.

Step 2: Capturing GCLID Information

1. Enable Auto-tagging in AdWords
2. Configure your website to capture GCLID in each step
3. On your final conversions, you will have a list of users who converted along with unique GCLID.
4. If you are generating leads, you will have a list of leads along with unique GCLIDs and personal user information, then you can pass it ahead. After the final sales, you will have sales along with unique GCLIDs.

Step 3: Import GCLID to Adwords

1. Once you have a data set of leads with GCLID, upload it with the given format in upload tab of conversion section.


2. Make sure you have the data set in the right format, if not process it into the right format and upload it, it should have the following rows:

● Google Click ID
● Conversion Name (The name you gave the conversion action while creating it)
● Conversion Time (When the conversion occurred) Sharing below the only acceptable formats:


● Conversion Value (Optional): The value you want to attribute to this action
● Conversion Currency (Optional): The currency you want to associate with the value.

Once the upload is done, BINGO! You can see conversion attributed to each level, you can see which campaign, ad group, keyword, ad or targeting got you those conversions.

That sounds simple enough!

Alternatively, you can schedule GCLID Conversion upload and automate the entire process by various ways given by AdWords.


Now Joey will never have a problem with such clients and can make data-driven decisions to optimize the campaigns in real time and improve performance.

Reach out to us and get started with these. I hope you really enjoyed reading this blog, please do post your thoughts and queries in the comment section.

This article is a part of Social Takeover by Vishal Mishra. Read about his thoughts on Google Store Visits and 7 AI trends for 2018.