Many marketers were affected by the disappearance of GLCID parameter in Google Ads paid traffic after the April 26th update. To comply with Apple App Tracking Transparency restrictions, Google had to start sending WBRAID and GBRAID parameters instead, providing anonymized way to track ad conversions. In this post we'll discuss the implications, what it means for tracking and how Able can be used to keep tracking conversions for Google Ads traffic without GLCIDs.
Apple forced app vendors to stop sending identifier that can be uniquely traced to a user. To solve tracking needs, Google replaced it's old Google click identifier (GCLID) with new parameters that can't be used to identify user.
This meant that all old ways of tracking conversions such as Google Ads API integrations sending GCLIDs won't work for paid traffic coming from IOS native apps such as YouTube.
Official Google announcement said the following:
We recently introduced a new URL parameter to help comply with Apple’s policies and help you measure the results of your ads on iOS. This new parameter will help you attribute conversions back to your ad campaigns and works with conversion modelling to give you accurate measurement on iOS.
The announcement was done at the last-minute and Google Ads hasn't been providing explicit instructions on the best practices for tracking Google Ads traffic without GCLIDs at a time. It was possible to work around the tracking by attributing conversions to Google Tag identifiers and importing them via Conversion Import.
Currently, Able recommends a better solution that takes advantage of new Google Ads API v9 and better access to Customer Match that Google Ads provides to its customers. While Customer Match had only been available to large enterprise corporate customers, its been rolled out to all accounts with good compliance history. You should expect to see something along the following lines in the Google Ads dashboard:
If this notification didn't appear, email your Google Ads account manager to allowlist your Google Ads account for the feature - or simply try solution before to see if its already allowlisted.
Solution (updated in November 2021)
Google Ads API accepts WBRAID and GBRAID tracking parameters, as well as additional customer match user identifiers since the API was updated in November 2021.
Then, Able sends each conversion to Google Ads API. It's important to note that even when a conversion happens offline or on the back-end, Able attributes it to the previously recorded WBRAID and GBRAID parameters (or a GCLID if available), which treats it effectively as an online activity.
This allows Google to utilize its conversion modelling in the same way it can do it for a regular online activity. Even if the click doesn't have unique identifier, Google Ads will attribute it with sufficient precision by combining the following parameters instead:
- WBRAID / GBRAID, which are anonymized device identifiers compliant with Apple privacy restrictions
- customer email and phone
This process allows to recover attribution for most of the conversions and have them displayed in the Google Ads reports correctly. It is achieved by tracing the conversion attributed to WBRAID/GBRAID by Able CDP back to the original click within Google Ads reporting engine and attributing it based on the WBRAID allocation logic Google Ads uses. While the exact percentage of IOS traffic attributed by this approach varies, it's the best option available at the moment for tracking IOS conversions in Google Ads.
In addition to the Google Ads API integration described above, Able CDP integration with Facebook Conversions API solves tracking of Facebook IOS traffic without FBCLIDs by sending Facebook Pixel browser id, as well as, optionally, personal data that can be used for matching.