Help Me Understand My New Client’s Tracking Template. Maybe Parallel Tracking?

Forum White Hat SEO PPC Help Me Understand My New Client’s Tracking Template. Maybe Parallel Tracking?

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  • #9723

    Hi everyone,

    I just took on a new client for Google Search Ads and some analytics work. While going through Google Analytics, I noticed there was a significant discrepancy in Google Ad clicks (Headline/Sitelink) and Google Analytics sessions (3,116 in Google Ads vs 1,585 in Analytics).

    When looking through the tracking templates for Ad Groups/Ads, I noticed a tracking template formatted like this:


    From what I’ve read, this type of template has to do with parallel tracking (which in doing some short research, seems to be mandatory/baked in for Search Ads anyway?). Whatever the purpose, a portion of sessions (346) have been assigned in Analytics per the UTM parameters above. The remaining 1,585 sessions appear to have been set to a medium of ‘cpc’ and by all accounts, auto-tagged.

    What’s strange is all the ads that created those clicks use the same tracking template. So I’m confused why some would be categorized by the UTM parameters above, and others appear to use auto tagging. And frankly why the gap is STILL so high.

    Any insight here would be helpful.


    Not all clicks on ads become sessions or users on site


    Those are combined UTM and ValueTrack parameters. Not necessarily anything to do with parallel tracking, which is when click data is passed to third parties (back in the days this was a lengthy redirect).

    Could be they want to pass data into their CRM or analytics platform.


    The first problem is that someone is using “paid search” as the medium instead of cpc. So anywhere these manual tags are applied is going to lose google/cpc source/medium attribution in analytics.

    The bottom line is someone did this because that is writ as part of their “checklist”, and doesn’t know why they are doing it. If they don’t know why, then obviously they don’t really know how.

    So start by going through everything and “resetting” both accounts back to the “default”, and see if that fixes at least some of these discrepancies.

    Clicks : sessions discrepancies will always exist, and there could very well be other issues at play here. But, you won’t know that if you have god knows what, from god knows who to contend with on top of everything.

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