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About tracking in AdWords

Parallel tracking will be available in late 2017 for your account. It sends people directly from your ad to your final URL, while tracking happens simultaneously in the background. In 2018, this will be the default tracking method for all accounts. Check with your tracking template provider to make sure parallel tracking is compatible. Learn about parallel tracking.

If you’re running ads, you’re already receiving valuable information like the number of times your ads have served and the number of clicks on your ads. But what if you use an analytics system outside of Google and want to track things like which clicks are coming from mobile, or how much of your ad traffic is coming from the Google Search Network versus the Google Display Network? You can access this type of information by setting up tracking in URL options.

This article explains how tracking works in AdWords and what you can set up in URL options. Setting up tracking is a good idea if you’ve been successfully running campaigns and want to know more about your clicks.

How tracking works

Tracking works very closely with your ads’ final URLs. If you don’t use tracking, someone who clicks your ad will go directly to the landing page URL you entered in the “Final URL” field when you set up your ad. If you set up tracking, you can send potential customers to specific landing page URLs that have extra information, like the keyword that triggered your ad or the type of device the person who clicked your ad was using.

About URL options

You can create or edit the URL options at the account, campaign, ad group, keyword, or sitelink level. URL options consists of two main sections:

  • “Tracking template:” The field where you will put tracking information. When an ad is clicked, this information will be added to your final URL to create your landing page URL. A tracking template created at the ad group, campaign, or account level applies to all of the ads in the corresponding ad group, campaign, or account. If you define multiple tracking templates at different levels, the most specific template will be used. The keyword tracking template is the most specific followed by the ad, ad group, campaign, then account. Learn more
  • “Custom parameter:” A type of URL parameter that you can create yourself and add to your tracking templates and final URLs. Learn more

Good to know

  • Setting up URL options at the ad group, campaign, or account level means that you can update your tracking information without resubmitting your ads for approval. However, if you set up or edit at the ad, keyword, or sitelink level, they will still need to go through review.
  • You can use the “Test” button to check that your tracking is set up correctly. Once you click “Test,” AdWords will combine your final URL with any tracking you set up to make sure your ad will lead to a landing page URL. Learn more
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