Adwords Launches Upgraded URLs

Posted by TP 20th March 2015 Tips and advice

Tips and advice

URL management is about to get easier: Google has announced the launch of a new feature called Upgraded URLs. This will be a forced migration that will replace current Landing Pages, although the two options will co-exist until the end of the year so there will be plenty of time to test them before making the switch.

Destination URLs

These are simply the website URLs you attach to your adverts or keywords, the page users land on when they click on one of your ads. Up until now, Adwords users who wanted to track visits or conversions would add a tracking parameter to the end of the landing page, which was treated as a single entity by Adwords:

Landing Page + Tracking Parameters = Destination URL


In the example above, the bold part would be the landing page, and the italics part would be the tracking parameter.

This presented some issues for Adwords users:

• Tracking parameters had to be added to each landing page every time they were changed or updated, which could be very time consuming.
• Each time a destination URL was updated, your ads would be sent back for editorial review, which presents two problems – your ads would not be live while they were being reviewed, and any data attached to the old destination URL would be lost.

Upgraded URLs

The main difference with this new feature is that the landing page and the tracking parameter are treated as separate entities with their own field. This means that if the tracking parameter needs to be updated, it can be done without having to touch the landing page, which presents a few benefits compared to the old system:

• The tracking parameter will be saved as a tracking template, which can be upgraded and applied to a set of adverts or keywords in one move, making URL updating a lot faster.
• When the tracking parameter gets updated, your adverts won’t be sent back for editorial review, meaning there won’t be any down time while making changes.
• Any performance stats attached to your adverts will remain.

As the image below shows, there is a section for what Adwords calls the Final URL (the web page users land on when they click on your ad) split into a field for desktop URLs and a field for mobile URLs, and a different section for your tracking parameter. The tracking parameter will consist of different custom parameters set by you, which you can enter on the fields below it and will be used to construct the final URL. For example, you could be running a 25% off promotion, and create a custom parameter called {_promo} = 25OFF.

You can see a full list of ValueTrack parameters in here.

Adwords Upgraded URLs Launch

Bear in mind that, although tracking templates can be applied at any level (Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Advert, Auto Target and Sitelink, etc.), applying the changes at ad level “will remove the existing ad and re-submit a new one for review”, according to Google. For this reason, it might be a better idea to apply the template at a higher level in order to avoid advert down time or losing performance stats.

The deadline for getting onboard will be July 1st 205. For advertisers who don’t use tracking on their landing pages, the change will happen automatically when Adwords copies the current landing page onto the Final URL field. If tracking is used, Google recommends switching to Upgraded URLs before this date – otherwise they will be upgraded automatically, which could cause issues with your campaigns.

Need more help upgrading your destination URLs? Check out this guide from Adwords.

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