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Google Analytics • DFA/CPM • campaign traffic problem


Wojtek Andrzejczak
Google Analytics • DFA/CPM • campaign...

Google Analytics doesn’t track your Google Marketing Platform campaign traffic correctly if your traffic is identified as DFA/CPM.

Campaign traffic coming from the DFA source indicates the problem with your campaign tracking setup. Google Analytics doesn’t track your campaign traffic correctly.

What DFA source mean?

DFA source refers to DoubleClick For Advertisers, which is the old brand name for Google Marketing Platform. So it means that your campaign traffic comes from the GMP campaign.

Why medium is CPM?

By definition, the Google Marketing Platform buying model is CPM, where we pay for delivered impressions. The exception here is Google Search 360, and Gmail Ads where we use CPE (Cost Per Engagement)

But why I see DFA/CPM in GA?

You see this source/medium because you did not append Google Analytics UTM parameters to landing pages in your campaign. As soon as you add utm_campaign, utm_source, utm_medium, you will start reporting detailed campaign traffic. Google Analytics, when it does not detect any UTM parameter, it assumes traffic by existing DCLID parameter in the URL as the unknown campaign from GMP.

DFA/CPM source/medium in Google Analytics
DFA/CPM source/medium in Google Analytics

What is the GCLID / DCLID parameter?

GCLID – Google Click ID, used by Google Ads campaigns.
DCLID – DoubleClick Click ID, used by display campaigns by GMP.

Both of those parameters are coming from Google, and both do the same thing. They tag click interaction with the campaign creative by passing a unique user identifier within those to parameters. The reason why we have two different parameters is not that obvious.

Google Ads (previously known as AdWords) was first, which has implemented the GCLID parameter to let use advantage of 1st party cookies with tracking conversions on the client-side. Then Google made the same thing for the display part.

Google Campaign Manager DCLID parameter
Example DCLID parameter

But why we use both of them, not just one?

That’s is an excellent question. Search and Display networks are still very different, and they work in many areas separately. Attribution, reporting, campaign structure works differently in both ecosystems, and it is not that simple to make everything work. Additionally, we need to remember that Google makes Google Ads from the beginning. Other platforms were bought and linked together to work with each other. So I guess, it was easier to make the same functionality separately for search and display. And we have to remember that when Apple released the first ITP 1.0, Google did not have much time to implement it.

GMP – Enhanced attribution

To enable the DCLID parameter, you need to enable this functionality. You need to go to Google Campaign Manager advertiser Floodlight Configuration tab, and under Enhanced attribution, section check Enable across Google Marketing Platform and save changes. Since now, all campaigns under this advertiser will have an appended DCLID parameter.

Enable Enhanced attribution in the Floodlight configuration tab.
Enable Enhanced attribution in the Floodlight configuration tab.

Google Analytics 360

If you are using premium GA 360, you can, but you don’t have to append UTM’s to your campaign. Just make sure your GA property links to Google CM. No additional setup is needed.

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  • Google response to Apple ITP • Enhanced attribution • Advertising & Web development

    […] Difference between DCLID and GCLID parameters you can check in this article. […]

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  • 5 facts about UTM tracking parameters • Google Analytics

    […] GCLID/DCLID – system generated, read here for more information. […]

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  • 3 steps to implement Google Analytics UTM tracking

    […] Source/Medium traffic aggregated under DFA/CPM. More about this problem, you can learn in the Google Analytics • DFA/CPM • campaign traffic problem article on my […]

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