I personally prefer auto-tagging because, as the name suggests, it's done automatically. You have zero chance of human error, except when you forget to turn it on in AdWords.
Note, though, that AdWords' "gclid" parameter gets "translated" into GA's familiar utm_source/medium/campaign/content/term tags for populating the respective GA reports. ValueTrack allows you to include other AdWords-specific queries in your URL, but these won't be recorded in GA (assuming you're using GA's default tag in your pages).
With that in mind:
1. There might be a strong case to use manual tagging to support your LTV and Churn data collection. *Or* if you're afraid of human error *and* you don't need the adgroup and/or keyword-level data, then I think you might be able to do your work by creating a new URL query and set of codes that your DB can record automatically. E.g. campaigns A, B and C can use a code "foo", campaigns D and E can use "bar", etc.
--- In email@example.com, "breanna.wigle" <breanna.wigle@...> wrote:
> Hi -
> I am digging back into Google Analytics after using some of the other tools for the past few years. As I get back up to speed on GA my head is spinning with all the new campaign tagging features.
> Which leaves me with a question for the group - if you were going to set up a new GA instance would you use auto-tagging for Adwords or would you stick with manual tagging and use the ValueTrack parameters?
> We have started to go down the path of auto-tagging but have run into 2 concerns.
> 1. We want to eventually track LTV and Churn so we need to pass the campaign values to the DB on conversion. Because we can't decode gclid we need to pass through values that we can read-write to our DB. Which would require manual tagging of the destination URL, even if we used custom parameters that didn't mess with GA.
> 2. We want to a/b test PPC ads and the headline won't always differentiate the ad content. Is there a way to override the utm_content tag with something like version_a so we can pivot across concepts? Which would mean more manual tagging.
> What data do I loose if I do not use the autotagging, would you say that it's worth gaining more control with ValueTrack?