How to Be Parallel Tracking-Compatible When Using Campaign Manager

July 3, 2019

If you’re an advertiser using Google Ads, you likely received this notice from Google in mid-May of this year…

Important update on Google Ads parallel tracking for Display campaigns

Dear Google Ads Advertiser,

What’s changing?

Earlier this year, we announced that parallel tracking will be available for Display campaigns, starting May 1, 2019.

Starting July 31, 2019, parallel tracking will be required for all Display campaigns on Google Ads to ensure a better landing page experience for users. At that time, parallel tracking will become the only click measurement method for Display campaigns on Google Ads.

We’re postponing parallel tracking for Video campaigns until later this year to give you more time to prepare. We’ll update you once we’ve finalized a new date…

 Parallel tracking became a requirement of Search campaigns in Oct. 2018. Now it’s being required of Display campaigns, as well, starting July 31.

If you don’t use third-party tracking, then you need not worry! Keep on keepin’ on. But if you do use third-party impression, click or conversion tracking with Google Ads campaigns, then this is important stuff.

What is Parallel Tracking?

Parallel tracking allows for the Google Ads click tracker and your third-party tracking URL to load simultaneously while your landing page loads. Before parallel tracking, these steps would be done sequentially, and all trackers would have to load in order before the landing page loaded. This would lead to slower load speeds for the landing page and, consequently, a poor customer experience. Now, it all happens simultaneously and load time is shortened.

So How Does This Apply to Me?

If you use a third-party ad management system for tracking, such as Campaign Manager, then you may need to make some changes. Campaign Manager explains that:

Campaign ManagerTracking ads and click trackers used with Google Ads will support click measurement when parallel tracking is enabled…

However, the following features aren’t supported: 

You may be defining your UTM parameters for your URL suffix in Campaign Manager. This URL loads after a user clicks on your ad (your CM click tag). Then, the UTM parameters signal to your web analytics platform, like Google Analytics, which campaign, audience, creative, etc. earned the ad click.

With parallel tracking, the UTM parameters must be defined in the Google Ads platform, not in Campaign Manager. This means when you create a responsive display ad, Gmail ad or YouTube ad, the URL suffix must be added to the “Final URL Suffix” field in Google Ads.

The “Tracking template” field should hold the click tag, downloaded from Campaign Manager. See screenshot below.

It’s that simple, really!

When you download your click tag from Campaign Manager, copy-and-paste it in the Tracking Template field, then navigate to your landing page so that it includes all of your UTMs (for example, www.example.com?utm_source=gdn&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=retargeting…).

Copy the suffix (after the question mark) and paste in the “Final URL Suffix” field. The URL before the suffix can be pasted in the “Final URL” field. If you don’t define these UTMs in Google Ads like this, Google will automatically define your source and medium as “google/ppc.”

In order to verify that this is parallel tracking-compatible, click the “TEST” button under the custom parameter fields, and look for the status messages “Landing page found” and “Tracking call successful.”

So, does this mean you should delete any landing page URL suffix in your Campaign Manger campaign properties? No, because these are needed to match the final URL in Google Ads with the Campaign Manager tag. They’re also still usable for trafficking third-party ads, like banners, to Google Ads.

Once you’re confident all your responsive display ads, Gmail ads and YouTube ads are set up correctly, navigate to “Account Settings” and enable parallel tracking.

You’re now decreasing load times and making a better experience for your users!

 

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