Why do I have more sessions than clicks?

This is normal behavior and indicates positive engagement with your website. When a user clicks one of your AdWords ads and auto-tagging is turned on, we assign a unique click id (gclid value) to that user.

If a user later returns to the website directly (e.g., the user enters your website URL or has the website bookmarked), in lieu of any other referral information, these additional sessions have their campaign source reported as the last-known campaign source. In this case, the last-known campaign is an AdWords campaign.

Each direct return session after the initial AdWords click shows as another session for the AdWords campaign. Basically, this is a scenario where a single AdWords click leads to multiple sessions in Analytics.

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Tip: You can use advanced segments to view new vs. returning sessions for a campaign and confirm that the larger number of sessions is partially due to returning users.

Why do I see sessions coming from an old (paused or deleted) AdWords campaign?

This is similar to the previous scenario where return users cause more sessions than clicks to appear for a given campaign. When an AdWords campaign is paused, users who originally accessed the site via this campaign and later return via direct will have these repeat direct sessions reported as coming from the AdWords campaign.

In some cases this can lead to scenarios where you see sessions showing for a campaign six or more months after the campaign has been paused or deleted.

Tip: As above, you can segment these sessions by new and returning users to confirm this is returning-user behavior.

I use manual tagging. Is there anything I should know?

Yes. First of all, we have seen many clicks-sessions reporting issues resolved simply by adopting auto-tagging.

Next, make sure you are aware of the benefits of auto-tagging. Also, be aware that some features in AdWords are only available when you use auto-tagging, and that future improvements to AdWords reporting in Analytics will be available only to users who employ auto-tagging.

We expect session numbers to be lower due to manual tagging. This is because auto-tagging generates a unique gclid value for each click. Each unique value opens a new session in Analytics.

Manual tagging does not generate a unique campaign URL (click id) for each click. Therefore, it’s possible to have situations where a user clicks a creative several times in the same 30 mins window but only registers one session in Analytics.

Why do I see landing pages for paid traffic in Analytics that are not specified as destination URLs in my AdWords account?

First, there are two dimensions in Analytics that you should understand:

  1. Destination URL: This dimension is limited to AdWords-reporting sections of Analytics. It represents the destination URL in your ad that was recorded at the time of the AdWords click.
  2. Landing Page: This is the first recorded page view in an Analytics session.