Liz Pagano

Google AdWords Upgraded URLs: A Quick Guide

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

google-adwords-yellow2-1920

In February, Google announced a major change to how landing page URLs will be managed in AdWords. If you manually tag your URLs, listen up!

Old Way:             Landing Page URL + Tracking Parameters = Destination URL.

Since your tracking code and landing page URL are combined, any change in tracking code sends your ad into editorial review, where Google has to crawl each altered URL and re-approve your ad. This becomes problematic in terms of data loss and time ads spend under review.

The solution? Upgraded URLs!

With upgraded URLs, the landing page URL and the tracking parameters that currently make up the destination URL will be separated. The landing page will become what is now dubbed “Final URL” and your tracking parameters will be handled separately in a “Tracking Template”. This improved URL management will not only make updates to tracking code easier, it will reduce the number of times Google needs to crawl your ad’s landing pages.

Upgraded:          Landing Page URL = Final URL

                                Tracking Parameters = Tracking Template

Google has given us a deadline of July 1st 2015 to upgrade to the new URL structure, otherwise your account will be automatically converted.

How it’s done:

Before you being making changes, I suggest you become familiar with Google’s Upgrade Guide.

Tracking templates are where you enter your tracking information and any custom parameters you may want to use. You have the ability to scale these template updates across several URLs without resetting your ad. In these tracking templates you’ll use ValueTrack parameters to define what elements you want tracked.

First you need to identify which ValueTrack parameters you want to include in your template. You’ll find the full set of options here. Custom parameters can also be added. So if you want to tag your URLs with a promotion, you might set a custom parameter {_promo} with a value of “BOGO”. You can set up to three custom parameters.

The templates can be applied at various levels within your account, but the most specific level of tracking will be applied to the ad. This means if you have a campaign level and an ad level tracking template, the ad level tracking will override the campaign level template for that ad. To maximize efficiency I recommend creating a template at the highest level possible.

Note: Changes to tracking templates at the ad level will remove the existing ad and re-submit a new one for review.

Now What?

Although all the updates are in place within the AdWords web interface, AdWords Editor has not yet been updated to support upgraded URLs. If you use Editor I highly recommend holding off until the next release comes out. This will ensure nothing falls through the cracks when posting changes from Editor.

Now that you have all the information you need to upgrade, you can begin to make a plan as to how you will go about switching over. Be mindful of the data loss that will occur when you make the switch. If you have questions or need help with your AdWords account, contact us today!