AdWords Campaigns tagging, which one is better, auto or manual?

There are two alternatives for adding campaign tracking information to your AdWords campaigns: auto-tagging and manual tagging. Google typically encourages users to turn on auto-tagging, which automatically appends a gclid parameter to the end of your URL. In general, AdWords URLs constructed with this method turn out to be looking like this:

Though this parameter is extremely convenient while using AdWords and Google Analytics (as you don’t have to do any additional work apart from turning auto-tagging on) Google prevents this UUID-style value from being resolved to its various sub-dimensions (e.g. campaign, source, medium, etc.) from outside of Google’s system.

As a result, you must use manual tagging (where you must append the campaign data to the AdWords URL) to get campaign-level records in TrenDemon reports. Auto-tagging and manual tagging can be used at the same time,  although you will need to tweak a setting in Google Analytics to prioritize manual tags over the gclid parameter.


How to set up manual tagging?

The first step in the setup process involves tagging your ad URLs with UTM tags – this is the standard way of transmitting campaign attribution information back to your website.

Log in to your AdWords account and select Campaigns > Ads. Your active AdWords campaigns will appear – hover over the one you want to add manual tagging to and click the pencil icon to edit.

Make sure your site’s URL and AdWords text are all correct, then select “Final URL” and delete the currently entered text. You can add the UTM data yourself, but we recommend using Google’s Custom Campaign URL builder to maintain consistency across your campaigns. All you need to do is enter in the values for the various UTM tags you’d like to use (TrenDemon will automatically grab UTM parameters if they are present in the URL).

Once you have the correct values in the form click “Submit” and your new manually tagged URL will appear below the form. Copy and paste this new URL into the “Final URL” field of the campaign’s AdWords settings and save the campaign.


How to use both manual and auto tagging?

in case you’re using Google Analytics and TrenDemon side by side it could be handy to use both auto-tagging and manual tagging in tandem. This is absolutely possible, though you’ll need to tell Google Analytics to permit UTM values to override gclid values. This will avoid data discrepancies in your Google Analytics instance. This setting can be found in the Admin > Property Settings page of your Google Analytics dashboard.