YouTube campaigns

Use third-party click tracking with YouTube inventory

Clicks can also be tracked using a Campaign Manager 360 tracking ad. Using a manual click tracking URL prevents you from using enhanced click and conversion tracking. Learn more about Enhanced YouTube tracking in Google Marketing Platform

About parallel tracking 

Parallel tracking is required for third-party measurement of YouTube ads in Display & Video 360. This excludes Campaign Manager 360 tracking.

Parallel tracking helps load your landing page more quickly. This can reduce lost visits, leading to increased conversions and improved ad performance. Parallel tracking sends customers directly from your ad to your landing page URL while click measurement happens in the background (without sending them to the click tracker URLs first).

More details about parallel tracking

With parallel tracking, customers are delivered directly to your landing page while click measurement happens in the background.

Here’s what parallel tracking looks like:

  1. Customer clicks your ad.
  2. Customer sees your landing page.

At the same time, in the background:

  1. Click tracker loads.
  2. Tracking URL loads.
  3. If you use more than one click tracker, additional redirects may load.

Without parallel tracking, customers go through one or more redirects after clicking your ad before they reach your landing page. This means it takes longer for customers to reach your landing page.

Here’s what tracking looks like without parallel tracking:

  1. Customer clicks your ad.
  2. Click tracker loads.
  3. Tracking URL loads.
  4. Possible additional tracking URL loads.
  5. Customer sees your landing page.

You can follow the steps below to adapt your landing page and click tracker URLs to parallel tracking: 

  • Reach out to your third-party measurement provider: Work with your third-party measurement providers to make sure that they’re aware of this change and that they’ve updated their click trackers to redirect to the correct landing page.
  • Verify your landing page URL and click tracker URLs in YouTube ads in Display & Video 360: To ensure that customers are redirected to the correct location after clicking your ads, the final landing page defined in your click tracker and the landing page URL you set on an ad in Display & Video 360 need to be set to the same URL, including any tracking parameters.
    • Tracking parameters: All tracking parameters, such as UTMs or Google Analytics parameters, need to be included in your landing page URL.
    • Additional time for ad review: Landing page URL and/or click tracker URL changes will cause your YouTube ads to be re-reviewed. We recommend leaving at least 2 business days for your ads to be reviewed. If you need to make changes mid-flight, duplicate and pause your ads to make necessary adjustments. New paused ads will be sent for review while your existing ads keep delivering. Once the new ads are approved, you can set them live and pause the old ones.
    • Bulk changes: You can make landing page URL and click tracker URL changes in bulk with Structured Data Files. Learn more

Track clicks with a third-party system

Click tracking is automatically included when you use a Campaign Manager 360 tracking ad. You can manually assign a third-party click tracking URL, but you will lose the benefits of enhanced click and conversion tracking. The tracking URL doesn't affect landing page URLs.

To add a third-party click tracking URL:

  1. When you create a new TrueView in-stream, bumper, or non-skippable ad in a YouTube & partners line item, set the Landing page URL as your ad's landing page. The landing page URL can contain redirects within your advertiser's domain but not redirects to third-party domains.
  2. Fill in the URL you use for tracking in the Click tracker URL field. The click tracker must redirect to the same URL as your landing page URL. 
  3. Click Save.

(Advanced) Technical requirements for third-party click trackers

  • Your tracking server must use the HTTPS protocol, and any internal redirects in the click tracker should also use HTTPS.
  • Any redirect mechanism that uses an on-page method, like a JavaScript redirect, won't work. If your tracking server uses any such redirection mechanisms in the redirect chain, they need to be updated.

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