You’re probably familiar with UTMs and the control they give you to create marketing campaigns. But did you know that Facebook has its own version of tracking outbound links from ads published on its platform? They are called FBCLID and you may be wondering what it is and what it is for.

In Google Analytics, you’ve probably seen them: a long string of alphanumeric code at the end of what appears to be a duplicate URL. Not to mention, TikTok now also has its own version of these, a TikTok Click ID (TTCLID) to improve ad attribution and performance through campaign association.

In this post we’ll give you a rundown of what Facebook Click IDs (FBCLID) and TikTok Click IDs (TTCLID) are, how they affect your Google Analytics, an overview of UTMs, and how to use them all for personalized experiences on the website.

What is TTCLID?

TTCLIDs or TikTok Click IDs are tracking parameters added to the URL of a landing page every time a user clicks on an ad on TikTok. They began phasing in on 11/17/22. TikTok says that when advertisers share a web event triggered via Pixel or Events API with TikTok and the event has a click ID, TikTok will match this. That information can then be used for audience building, attribution, optimizing ad delivery, measurement, and more.

TikTok claims that TTCLID’s automatic attachment does not affect other custom tracking parameters it uses. It is also possible to remove the TTCLID from landing page URLs, in the same way that you manage other query parameters.

What are FBCLIDs?

In short, FBCLIDs or Facebook Click IDs are tracking parameters that are automatically added to outbound links on Facebook. So if a Facebook user clicks on a link to her website, a unique FBCLID is created and added to the URL. They work like UTM, but are specific to Facebook clicks and therefore require slightly different tracking and attribution tactics.

It’s also important to note that since Facebook aka Meta now owns Instagram, FBCLIDs are also present in Instagram outbound links!

Why did Facebook create FBCLID?

The reason why Facebook creates FBCLID is unclear. They were released in mid-October 2018 without documentation or official announcement. Many have concluded that they were created as a workaround for Apple’s ad blockers and ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) in its Safari browser.

ITP is Apple’s way of combating third-party cookies, which is a controversial topic regarding traffic attribution. While no one knows for sure, both are likely reasons for the creation of FBCLID and its appearance in Google Analytics.

What does this mean for my Google Analytics?

You may have noticed that quite a few page paths are created with the unique FBCLID parameter in your Google Analytics. These are created every time someone is referred to your site from Facebook/Instagram. They are created because Google believes that each click on your Facebook/Instagram referral link is a completely new page path. Before FBCLIDs, Google attributed multiple clicks to a page path; but now they are splitting those clicks into multiple page paths.

If you have a link that gets a lot of clicks, this will definitely cause you some headaches when it comes to attributing your traffic. Agencies that have to review data from multiple clients will especially struggle to differentiate page paths.

This is the difference between standard UTM tracking parameters and FBCLIDs. With UTMs, once you’ve created one for a specific campaign, all traffic/clicks/etc. They are automatically attributed to a single tag and your data remains clean and tidy.

But with FBCLIDs, each click gets its own unique parameter, resulting in hundreds or thousands of duplicate URLs flooding your Google Analytics dashboard.

What is the solution?

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution in your analytics reports to correct the numerous URLs that will appear. Google Analytics does not allow you to edit your data retroactively, so analytics created with FBCLID are there to stay.

However, there is hope for the future because you can prevent them from continuing to create routes in your analyzes by excluding the parameters in your configuration.

You can do this by going to “View Settings” and adding “fbclid” to the “Exclude URL Query Parameter” section. If you already have a parameter there, remember to separate it with a comma before adding it.

In the future, this will help you

You will keep your Google Analytics panel more organized, which will make it easier to read your analyzes and make data-based decisions about marketing campaigns.

FBCLID display settings

Welcome to the world of UTM: UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are variables added to a URL to track various parameters. Specifically, they allow you to track five parameters related to the origin of traffic: campaign, medium, source, term and content.

Campaign: This parameter is specifically for the campaign the visitor is participating with. Group all the content of a campaign in your analyses. For example, utm_campaign=blog_post

Medium: This specifies the general channel type the visitor is coming from. For example, utm_medium=social

Source: This specifies the website the visitor came from. For example, utm_source=facebook

Term: This will tell you the actual keyword or term you bid on in Google Ads that generated the click.
For example, utm_term=marketing+tips

Content: This tells you the specific type of content that is clicked if you have multiple types from the same source and medium, resulting in multiple identical links on one page. Content as a UTM parameter is commonly used in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. For example, utm_content=image versus utm_content=sidebar_link

Adding these UTM variables to your URLs will not change the content of the page itself. They are intended to act as a way for analytics programs to know where arriving traffic is coming from. UTM-based targeting will create increasingly personalized experiences that convert more visitors from all your marketing efforts, such as SMS sends, email flows, ad campaigns, and more.

Best usage practices

If you’re ready to start creating and using UTMs more frequently, consider these best practices:

Keep URLs consistent, clean, and easy to understand. We recommend creating a document that outlines your brand standard for UTM to ensure consistency in name and style.
Try to use all words in upper or lower case; UTM codes are case sensitive.
Keep names short but specific and descriptive.
Create dashboards across your entire MarTech stack (ESP, SMS, CRM, etc.) to monitor the performance of various campaigns.

Final summary

TikTok and Facebook are likely to be some of your biggest traffic drivers, depending on your industry and marketing strategy. Understanding how to use TTCLIDs and FBCLIDs, what they can mean for your campaign/budget planning, as well as how to understand your analytics, is key to ensuring you get the most out of your efforts.

Not to mention the improved customer experience visitors to email and WhatsApp campaigns can have when you start implementing UTM-specific website experiences.

But at the end of the day, while TTCLID, FBCLID, GCLID, and UTM have slightly different functions, the strategy behind using tracking parameters effectively is ultimately the same. Proper traffic attribution, plus advanced targeting rules, equals more personalized experiences and optimized promotional efforts.

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We help small businesses using our WhatsApp tools to expand their businesses.