Integrating Google AdWords with Mixpanel

Use this guide to push Google AdWords campaign information to Mixpanel. This information ensures properly configured campaign settings in Google. If you are instead looking to sync Mixpanel cohorts to Google AdWords, refer to this guide.

This article provides two sets of information:

  • An introduction to the necessary settings in your Google AdWords dashboard.
    If you’re using Mixpanel’s JavaScript library, no additional set up or coding is required for ad information to propagate into Mixpanel. If you’re driving traffic to a mobile app, you’ll want to read about
    mobile attribution with Mixpanel.
  • An optional and more advanced guide that shows you how to set up UTM-tags in parallel with auto-tagging. Typically this process is only for those using both Mixpanel and Google Analytics in parallel.

Enabling Manual Tagging for Mixpanel Compatibility

To add campaign tracking information to your AdWords campaigns, you can use auto-tagging and manual tagging.

Google typically encourages users to turn on auto-tagging. It automatically appends a "gclid" parameter to the end of your final URL, which is generally the URL of your site.

Here’s an example of AdWords URLs that are built with this method:

This parameter is extremely convenient when using AdWords and Google Analytics because you don’t have to do any additional work, other than turning auto-tagging on.

Google prevents this UUID-style value from being resolved to its various sub-dimensions (e.g. campaign, source, medium, and so on) from outside of Google’s system.

As a result, to get campaign-level data on your Mixpanel events, you must use manual tagging to pre-append the various campaign data to the AdWords final URL.

You can use auto-tagging and manual tagging at the same time. However, you will need to tweak a setting in Google Analytics to prioritize manual tags over the "gclid" parameter.

Setting Up AdWords To Use Manual Tagging

To start the process, you must tag your ad URLs with UTM tags, which is the standard way to transmit campaign attribution data back to your website.

If you’ve installed the Mixpanel JavaScript SDK on the page linked to the ad, these UTM properties are automatically added as super properties for any user who lands on that page from a campaign.

After you set up manual tagging, you’ve completed the process.

Let’s explore the specific steps in this process.

  1. Log in to your AdWords account and select Campaigns and then Ads. Your active AdWords campaigns appears.
  2. Hover over the ad you want to add manual tagging and click the Pencil icon to edit.

Manual tagging in the Campaigns page. Under the Ads tab, there is a pencil icon next to your ad.

You’ll probably want to do this for all of your campaigns so the relevant UTMs show up in Mixpanel, but for now you’re going to customize this single Search Network campaign.

3. Make sure your site’s URL and AdWords text are correct. Then select Final URL and delete the current text. You can add the UTM data yourself, but Mixpanel recommends using Google’s Custom Campaign URL builder to maintain consistency across your campaigns.

4. Enter in the values for the various utm_* style tags you’d like to use. Mixpanel’s JavaScript library will automatically grab utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, utm_content, and utm_term if they are present in the URL and Mixpanel’s SDK is active on the landing page. Then set these values as super properties.

Once automatically stored as super properties, campaign details appear with every subsequent event generated by the user. These values only appear for events with the JavaScript library as they’re stored in the browser cookie. You can read more about UTM tags and Mixpanel.

5. Once you have the correct values in the form, click Submit. Your new manually tagged URL appears below the form.

6. Copy and paste this new URL into the Final URL field of the campaign’s AdWords settings. Then click Save to complete the process.


Using Auto-Tagging and Manual Tagging Together

Now that you can use UTMs, you’ll need to revisit the auto-tagging settings.

If you’d like to have both "gclid" and "UTM" parameters on your URLs, you should leave auto-tagging on.

If you don’t use Google Analytics and have no use for the "gclid", you can turn this setting off.

If you’ve previously set up your AdWords campaigns to use auto-tagging, and you don’t plan to use Google Analytics to track your campaigns, you’ll need to disable it in your account settings.

Google Adwords' Preferences page, where "Auto-tagging" can be unchecked under the "Tracking" line.

Using GCLID Auto-Tagging with UTM Manual Tagging

If you use Google Analytics and Mixpanel together, it might be convenient to use both auto-tagging and manual tagging in tandem.

To do so, set Google Analytics to allow "UTM" values to override "gclid" values to avoid data discrepancies in your Google Analytics instance.

You can find this setting in the "Property Settings" page of your Google Analytics dashboard.

Beneath the "Advanced Settings" line on the Admin page's Property Settings, there is a checkbox to "Allow manual tagging."

After the override is enabled, you can send campaigns with both "gclid" and "UTM" parameters.

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