Due to changes in the privacy landscape and users’ expectations, Google’s click identifier (GCLID) is no longer used without user consent on iOS14+. Instead, Google Ads has introduced two new URL parameters to comply with Apple’s policies and help measure the results of your ads on iOS. These parameters are known as gBraid for web-to-app measurement, and WBRAID for app-to-web measurement. This article will provide insights into these changes and their impacts on Google Analytics.
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What is GCLID?
GCLID, or Google click identifier, is a tracking parameter used by Google to sync information between a Google Analytics account and a Google Ads account. When a user clicks on a Google ad, Google automatically appends a unique parameter to the destination URL, allowing GCLID to communicate post-click information back to Google.
The Impact of the iOS’14 Update on the GCLID Parameter
In line with Apple’s ATT policy changes, Google no longer sends GCLID parameters on iOS traffic originating from various Google apps. This has implications for the number of reported website and offline conversions.
The Alternative Solution: WBRAID and gBraid from Google
Google has introduced new URL parameters, WBRAID and gBraid, to help attribute conversions back to ad campaigns under Apple’s ATT legal framework. These parameters work with modeled conversions to increase the accuracy of measurement on iOS traffic.
The Difference Between WBRAID and gBraid
Both WBRAID and gBraid parameters function very similarly. WBRAID is used for web-to-app measurements, and gBraid is used for app-to-app measurements.
How are These New Parameters ATT Compliant and Why Isn’t GCLID?
The new parameters work in conjunction with the modeled online conversion, which does not attribute conversions to an individual user, but rather provides a holistic report on conversions in compliance with user privacy.
The Impact on Google Analytics Reporting
The existing integration between Google Analytics and Google Ads will continue to function effectively, including the importing of data reports and conversion reports from GA4 or Universal Analytics to Google Ads.
Why Should Marketers Use These Parameters?
Every ad campaign run by a marketer has a goal and a purpose. Without accurate conversion measurements for an ad campaign, marketers will struggle to optimize the campaign for better performance, forecast a budget for future campaigns, and attribute the conversion to the respective campaign.
GCLID Is Here to Stay and Not Going Away
GCLID is not going anywhere soon. It will be utilized by Google on non-iOS devices that aren’t impacted by the ATT framework. The new parameters will be used on the iOS surface when GCLID isn’t available for measurement.
Privacy laws are becoming stricter, and new laws such as the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) are emerging to tighten privacy regulations. Meanwhile, Apple is very serious about disallowing tracking across websites, which Google is set to follow soon.
Marketers must use both GCLID and the new parameters (WBRAID, gBraid) in tandem for accurate conversion measurement. To collect these parameters and share them with Google Ads and GA4 for better ad campaign performance and conversion measurement, you can use CustomerLabs CDP, which can be set up easily without requiring the assistance of a developer.