What is FBCLID? How To Remove FBCLID parameter from Google Analytics

Written by Michael Wilson

Michael is the Digital Analytics Director at GlowMetrics, implementing complex tracking for our largest clients via Google Tag Manager while leading our wider analytics work across Google Analytics, Data Studio and Optimize.
December 7, 2018

You might have noticed recently a new parameter has appeared in your Google Analytics reports.  Your nice clean URL structure has been taken over by this ‘fbclid’ parameter and its long string of letters, numbers and characters.  Thankfully, there’s a simple fix to clean up your reports again – which we’ll discuss below but first…

What is FBCLID?

The ‘fbclid’ parameter that you’re seeing in your Google Analytics reports is a new parameter which Facebook is adding to outbound links shared on Facebook.  So if a link to your site is shared on Facebook now, and someone clicks on it to visit your site, Facebook is adding this parameter to the link.  ‘FBCLID’ is a Facebook Click Identifier.  We haven’t seen any official documentation on what it does but we’d guess it’s a response to recent news that some browsers (e.g. Safari) will soon block third-party tracking cookies.

What is FBCLID? How To Remove FBCLID.

How Do I Remove FBCLID from Google Analytics?

The ‘fix’ for this is a really simple one, thankfully, but it won’t remove the parameter from any data that is already in your GA account as it’s not possible to retroactively delete or edit any data in Google Analytics.  So if you’re annoyed by this ‘fbclid’, the sooner you implement this small change, the better.

All you have to do is go to your View Settings, and under ‘Exclude URL Query Parameters’, add ‘fbclid’.  If you already have some other parameters in there, keep them as they are and add this one – ensuring it’s a comma-separated list.

how-to-exclude-fbclid-parameter-from-google-analytics-reports

…and that’s it! Easy! We’re not sure if this is a permanent change from Facebook – but the above fix will strip the ‘fbclid’ parameter from your Google Analytics reports and keep your data clean.

If you have any problems implementing – get in touch, we’re always happy to help.

 

30 Comments

  1. JD

    Thanks. Just what I needed.

    Reply
  2. HW

    Does this filter out this data or just remove the URL query parameter? And do you know if this affects Facebook Pixel’s ability to track data? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      It just removes the ?fbclid=xxxxxxxxxx bit from the URL, it doesn’t filter out the data.

      As far as the Facebook Pixel – the above fix only tidies up your GA data, it doesn’t remove the string from the actual URL that is displayed in the browser, so will have no effect on your FB pixels.

      Reply
  3. Rach

    Would you recommend adding this to the URL parameters tool in Search Console and categorising it ‘No URL’?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Rach – Good question! There’s probably no harm in adding it but I personally don’t think it’s necessary… I’ve never seen a URL returned in Search Results with ‘fbclid’ appended, so I’m guessing Google’s smart enough to know what to do if it crawls a link via FB (i.e. ignore the parameter).

      Reply
    • Josh Thoensen

      Yeah this works but my issue is that my session to click data is very unbalanced. Normally with fbclid my visits is 100+ more than my clicks which isn’t right. Is fbclid creating 2 sessions to the 1 click? Once I exclude it from my data it gets much better but it creates a lot of data issues up front. That first day I launch my visits in GA goes crazy and my clicks are minimal.

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • Michael Wilson

        It doesn’t typically create two sessions, no, but I guess it depends on how your site deals with the parameter being added. Does it force refresh the page for example?

        Reply
  4. ANa

    Does this block it entirely? Or just clear it from GA? Ideally I want to remove that code sitewide. That FB tracking code is REALLY slowing down one of my pages (by 80%!) Your advice is appreciated…

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Ana,

      It only strips the query from the GA reports. It doesn’t stop it from appearing on your site.

      If you wanted to remove it sitewide before your pages even load, you’d have to configure something on your server to do this – it’s not something you’d be able to solve using GA or GTM.

      Reply
  5. Sam

    I have a question. If I clean up this data from GA using your suggestion above, will GA still count these hits in my data and grade my website accordingly? For example, every time we share something on FB, and someone clicks it and goes to our site, they almost always visit that content and then leave the site, leaving me with TONS of pages with 100% bounce rates. I’m concerned this will degrade our quality score with Google and affect our site-ranking.

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Sam,

      This fix will only clean up the data you see in GA, it will have no effect on anything SEO-related…

      Reply
  6. Anders

    Does the FBCLID block Adsense Ads on website when readers click on Facebook-post?

    My experience is that Adsense Ads don’t show up when using desktop or laptop: when clicking on Facebook-post, it does not show any ads on desktop or laptop, but it does when using mobile phone.

    There should be a wordpress plugin removing the FBCLID parameters.

    But my question is: does FBCLID block the Adsense Ads for many website readers?

    Reply
  7. Lynn Evans

    Thank you! This helped a ton, since I’m brand new to Google Analytics. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Noah Britton

    Thanks for this!

    when I’m looking in analytics to see what the most popular Site Content is the entire entry is the ID.

    For example /?fbclid=IwAR2aCGqoEtSa5Jjbtxmszt7dQyri7Oipa_cXU7zGZGcnLkYm8JkVeVs2y9g

    This isn’t useful in any way as I don’t know what page they are on. So, for example, if they went to that URL and converted on one of my Goals I’d have no idea what page it was from. Or if they exit that page or bounce 100% I don’t know what the offending page is.

    I love that you showed how to remove the fbclid querystring but does this mean this URL is the homepage on my website? I have 4 of them and 100% bounce rate for each.

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Noah,

      Yeah, everything before the ?fbclid is the page they were on. So ‘/’ is most likely your homepage.

      Reply
  9. Abhijit Gupta

    This was really helpful. Thanks for the information.

    Reply
  10. Brett Prokop

    My website uses iframes; so this Facebook parameter tries to load as the frame page, and causes an error. I suspect this will happen with anyone using iframes.

    I don’t use Facebook anyway, so no big issue for me personally; but anyone trying to share my website through Facebook will not be entirely successful now. They will now get an Error frame page, and need to click the Home button to “reset” the index page of my website.

    Change is the name of the game online, but this particular one Facebook has made isn’t particularly useful, IMO.

    Thanks for the info; I just noticed this in my GA account, and was confused as to what it was all about.

    I’ve implemented your suggestion on my GA account; understanding that it won’t prevent these clicks, it just cleans up my GA account.

    Thanks Again

    Reply
  11. Peter Thijssen

    Yesterday I ended my google account but I still see “fbclid..” on fb.
    How can this be?

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Peter,

      The ‘fbclid’ parameter is being added by Facebook, to all links posted on Facebook.

      It is nothing to do with Google Analytics, other than you can see the parameter being reported there, the same way you can with other parameters.

      This guide is simply a way to clean up your GA reports – there is no way to actually stop FB adding this parameter to links.

      Michael

      Reply
  12. Ronnie

    Will this apply right away? I tried it and I still see the fbclid list under direct channel.

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Yes but it won’t remove it from historical data – it’ll just clean up new data coming in.

      Reply
  13. Matt

    Hi – Thanks for this! So.. to confirm, if my current situation is:

    /webpage/ = 100 views
    /webpage/fbclid… = 25 views

    Does this mean my page had 100 views, and 25 came from Facebook? Or did my content actually receive 125 views?

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Matt,

      That’d be 125 in total, with 25 coming from Facebook.

      Cheers,

      Michael

      Reply
      • Matt Giljahn

        Thanks! So by using the fix, my google analytics would show the below?

        /webpage/ = 125 views

        Reply
  14. JK Baseer

    Thanks Man! Quick fix. Got a question: Will there be a way to avoid this across account level or any GTM method that we can setup for the GA tag not to take up this sort of FBCLID. so we can keep that as a default setup and keep duplicate that container for future projects?

    Reply
  15. Faiz

    Thank you. At least I know now it’s safe

    Reply

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