Google Analytics Warning: Lower-Than-Expected Number of Sessions

Google Analytics Warning: Lower-Than-Expected Number of Sessions

In one of the premium forums I am a member of, someone recently asked this question.

They were getting a warning in their Google Analytics account:

“The Ad Destination URL *** from the AdWords account *************** has accrued a significant number of clicks but a lower-than-expected number of sessions from mobile clients because the page is dropping or altering the gclid parameter inserted by Google. Check the web server’s redirect logic or its use of a URL rewrite engine to ensure the gclid parameter is preserved.”

They contacted Google Support and the reply was to read the solution here.

I checked their site (homepage) and found a Javascript code which was detecting if the visitor is coming from a mobile device. If yes, then the visitor was redirected to

In Adwords, their auto-tagging was on which means in your Adwords ads, Google appends a ‘gclid’ parameter value which is used to sync Google Analytics data with Adwords data. So let’s suppose if your Adwords ad destination URL is, Adwords will append a random value and Google Analytics will see that value and use that to understand that the click came from Adwords and would also get you additional data in Google Analytics.

So the user ends up going to a URL like this one:

This works fine for Desktop users. But when someone comes from mobile, their server redirects this URL (containing the gclid parameter) to this one:

Hence, the gclid value gets lost and Google Analytics cannot interpret the visit as it should. That was the reason for that warning in GA.

The Solution:

The long-term ideal solution maybe to have a responsive site but you may have reasons not to have a responsive site.

Another solution is to change the Javascript code so that it preserves the gclid parameter. In their case, they had this JS code:

if (is_mobile) { location.replace('')}

You may try this one:

if (is_mobile) {
var current_url = document.URL;
var url = "";
var temp = current_url.split('?');
url = url+"?"+temp[1];

Another solution can be to create separate ads for mobile targeting and then use the final mobile URL as the destination URL. Then set this ad’s Device Preference to Mobile:

Setting Device Preference Mobile in Adwords ad

For details on Adwords auto-tagging, here are some official resources from Google itself:
What auto-tagging is
More about auto-tagging
Benefits of auto-tagging
Tagging your Adwords destination URLs
Check if Adwords auto-tagging works