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.

 

65 Comments

  1. JD

    Thanks. Just what I needed.

    Reply
    • Pamela Lipscomb

      I also just found these links in Google analytics. I was able to use this post to fix the issue!

      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
  16. Prasenjit

    Hi All,

    There is another way of removing the “fbclid” from the URL if you have the backend access. Just put these two lines in the .htaccess files:

    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} (^|&)fbclid=.*($|&)
    RewriteRule . https://www.edukolkata.com%{REQUEST_URI}? [R=301,L]

    The good thing is that it will keep the URL clean. I have used this at my site and it works like a charm:

    https://www.edukolkata.com/course/list?fbclid=IwAR1h0Gf3d4t3xqAUAlwJkVaA9wMLHU99gKtTCTmmtrz8g

    Thanks
    Prasenjit

    Reply
    • James

      Prasenjit, if you aren’t using a Facebook pixel to track Facebook ad performance, then your solution is fine. If you are, however, this will eventually break reporting.

      Reply
  17. Martin

    Does this parameter impact on SEO or we can leave it.
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Martin,

      It has no bearing on SEO – the fix above is just about tidying up your Google Analytics data.

      Cheers,

      Michael

      Reply
      • Martin

        Thankyou very much to confirm it.

        Now i got it and confusion clear

        Reply
  18. Tom Brown

    Can I use this fbclid to find out on what facebook post the user clicked to get to my website? We posted this content on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SchoolSparrow/posts/3485173818197599, and ended up with 7,000 visits in two days but the post had 6 engagements, no shares, and 40-ish likes….7,000 visits doesn’t add up!

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Tom,

      No, afraid not – it’s an identifier used by FB to track individual clicks – so if I clicked on a link and you clicked on the same link from the same place, the identifier would be different.

      It might be worth looking in Google Analytics under Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals — then apply ‘Full Referrer’ as a secondary dimension. This can sometimes provide you with the full URL the user came from, although it is something that the recent version of Chrome has stopped sharing, so you may or may not find anything useful here either.

      My best guess would be someone else posted the link on their Facebook page and it did well there.

      Thanks,

      Michael

      Reply
      • Lisa

        Hi Tom, you could try the add-on Crowd Tangle to find out who shared your link on Facebook. If it is a public post it will turn up.

        Michael, do you have any tips in how to turn up a clean GA report for historical data merging all the fbclid urls?
        I used to look at my data using the page title as a primary dimension. I was very careful not to change the page title as to not mess up the GA reports, but for a couple of weeks the dash size was accidentally changed in all the page titles, so now all my data is hard to analyse as every page has a duplicate with a slightly different dash in the page title.

        Lisa

        Reply
        • Michael Wilson

          Hi Lisa,

          There’s not much you can do within GA itself but if you use Data Studio for your reporting, you can create a calculated field to strip the parameters (including the FBCLID parameter) and re-write your URLs there – so you could report on them all merged back together again in Data Studio.

          I’ve written a guide on how to strip parameters in Data Studio here:
          https://www.glowmetrics.com/blog/calculated-fields-in-google-data-studio-how-to-use-text-functions/

          Hopefully that’ll give you what you’re looking for. 🙂

          Michael

          Reply
  19. Marc

    Is there a way to find what is the Facebook page from which the link is coming?
    I haven’t found it on GA (“previous page” doesn’t provide it) neither in Search Console. Thanks

    Reply
  20. Jim DeVries

    I’m skeptical that it’s only from links posted on FB. I have hits with this signature for files that haven’t existed in years, that were never linked to a top level document, and were certainly never shared, being 404’d by IP addresses that belong to FB.

    Reply
  21. Jason

    If I remove this parameter in GA, will it still track the page view as coming from a Social Media Channel ?

    (Maintaining visibility of traffic sources is required for Paid Campaigns)

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Jason,

      Yes – it won’t affect attribution, those pages will still be seen as coming from ‘social’ or whatever they’re currently seen as.

      Cheers,

      Michael

      Reply
      • Jens Wiese

        Hi Michael,
        actually I have some direct/none views with fbclid. I guess it’s some kind of dark social.
        Is there a way to rewrite the attribution for those. Like social/organic ?

        Reply
  22. Victor

    I did this but I still see URLs with the fbclid parameters. Am I doing something wrong? It has been 4 days.

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Victor,

      It won’t remove the parameter from data that’s already been collected (you can’t edit or delete any data that’s been collected in GA, which highlights the importance of getting it setup correctly as soon as possible!) – but you shouldn’t be seeing it coming in with new data…

      Thanks,

      Michael

      Reply
  23. paul

    after putting this into google analytics I have received nothing no data not even from other countries like before.

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Paul,

      If it’s motorlifestyle.nl you’re referring to, there is no GA code being fired on that site – so that’s your issue, nothing to do with this blog post.

      Thanks,

      Michael

      Reply
  24. Jim

    Hi Michael – I had added fbclid as a parameter to remove, and it appeared to be working; but I recently started advertising with Facebook and it either is no longer working or it never worked to begin with. I am getting many links with fbclid parameters appended.

    They are very long: /?fbclid=IwAR0gFkYKRqR0C10uMj4Aunq9Q2m_b7BP-mpqknI6Oh_mfHfdT2MqMZ_-QSA_aem_AQLf0q88MO0Xjs9ClYQixneL7Rsy-3lQcakCs2QKRoGjxoJDilnJNlTgCDzzI020kg49cP1R3lj3rF_8l80bDEEL453xkPHxz8r04ZSvr0VTXuc7MT8366yyZ98BdtLPhpo is an example.

    Do you know of another option to remove them? Thanks,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Jim,

      If you’ve added fbclid as a parameter to be excluded in your GA view settings, you definitely shouldn’t see URLs with these parameters in GA for any new data coming in.

      It is hard to advise further without more details on your setup but if you want to send some screenshots to [email protected], I’m happy to take a look to see if there are any obvious problems.

      Michael

      Reply
  25. vik iyer

    I have seen a recent traffic increase to my corporate blog – lot of referral links have ‘fbclid’ in them (but derive from blog), duration zero and bounce rate of 100. I wasn’t aware of Facebook bot traffic as it were. Also GA counts this traffic as ‘direct’ rather than from FB. All really strange…..

    Reply
  26. 192.168.1.1

    Really I needed this information. Thanks @Michael Wilson
    keep it up.

    Reply
  27. Faremakers

    Is there a way to find what is the Facebook page from which the link is coming?
    I haven’t found it on GA. Thanks

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      It used to be possible to check the Full Referrer to get the whole URL the traffic came from but most browsers now limit the referrer to the domain only, which obviously doesn’t help you narrow down the Facebook page.

      Sometimes if you search for your own link on FB itself, you might find the originating post if it was made by a public page – but no easy way to find it in GA, no.

      Reply
  28. Bridget

    Are the fbclid links valid pageviews that should be accounted for? Or are those views included in the normal URL?

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Bridget,

      Yes, those fbclid pageviews are valid – and they wouldn’t be included in the ‘normal’ URL. So if you wanted to know how many pageviews a specific page got, you’d have to add them all together.

      The fix in this post will strip out the ‘fbclid’ from these pageviews (going forward), so you won’t have to worry about it in future. It won’t change your historical data though.

      Michael

      Reply
  29. Olga

    Hi Michael, thank you so much for the helpful tip! I added the fix to our GA so hopefully it will help.

    I was wondering if you could recommend any way to “unite” or sum up all the fbclid (or twclid in our case) URLs under one for historical data, under a separate view/filter or something like that?

    Thank you!

    Reply
      • Olga

        Wow, thank you for such a prompt response! I’m certainly taking a look at that article.

        Reply
  30. dell

    Is there any way to know what page these url’s are generated from?

    Reply
  31. Indrajeet Chattha

    Thanks.. I have solved this problem in my analytics.

    Reply
  32. Lavan Kumar

    Hi Michael, I can see that the url with this fbclid parameter are being indexed by google . The Number has increased exponentially since December which is could see from the google search console under the “coverage report” with the type ” Indexed, Not Submitted in Sitemap”. It has now become a big concern. Does adding this parameter in GA resolves the problem. if not, is there any other way?

    Reply
    • Michael Wilson

      Hi Lavan,

      Removing the ‘fbclid’ from Google Analytics will not resolve this issue for you – it’s just a way of cleaning up your GA data.

      You may want to investigate the URL Parameters Tool which can be used to block crawling of parameterized duplicate content.

      More info here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6080548?hl=en

      Thanks,

      Michael

      Reply
  33. Michał

    People who fetch the data on the server via URL path must pay attention to this parameter. In my case, I had a 404 errors on all sites.

    Reply

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