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Welcome to the help center for DoubleClick Search, a platform for managing search marketing campaigns.  While the help center is available to the public, access to the DoubleClick Search product is available only to subscribing customers who are signed in. To subscribe or find out more, contact our sales team.

DoubleClick Search overview

About URLs for text ads and keywords

For each text ad an engine serves in response to a search, three URLs are involved in directing the consumer's click to a page on your site:

  • The landing page URL for the ad

  • The landing page URL for the keyword that matched the search

  • The clickserver URL DoubleClick Search (DS) generated to track and report activity

Landing page URL is the URL you want consumers to visit after they click an ad. Different engines use different terms, such as destination URL or final URL

Landing page URLs for ads

Text ads always contain at least one clickable link, and engines require you to set a landing page URL for the link when you create the ad. Because engines require landing page URLs for ads, DS also requires them. 

Landing page URLs for keywords

Engines provide the option of defining landing page URLs for individual keywords. When an engine serves an ad, it substitutes the keyword URL for the ad’s URL, which enables engines to report metrics for the keyword that matched the consumer's search.

The engine substitutes the keyword

DS requires you to define a landing page URL for each keyword.

Clickserver URLs

While engines report metrics on everything leading up to a click (such as impressions, cost, and clicks), to report activity that occurs after the click (such as visits and conversions), DS generates and traffics clickserver URLs. A clickserver URL contains data to uniquely identify each keyword in your account. Clickserver URLs look something like this:{creative}&ds_e_matchtype={ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}&ds_e_device={device}&ds_url_v=2

When an engine serves an ad, it substitutes the keyword’s clickserver URL for the ad’s URL.

The engine substitutes the clickserver URL for the ad

When the consumer clicks the ad, the ad redirects to DS. DS uses the parameters in the clickserver URL to find the landing page URL and to track activity. Then DS forwards to the keyword's original landing page URL.

DS redirects to the original landing page.

Learn more about clickserver URLs.

Requirements for landing page URLs in DS

When you add keywords and ads to DS (either by sync, upload, or the DS UI), DS checks the following:

  • Each keyword has a landing page URL

    If you create keywords directly in the engine without specifying landing page URLs, during sync DoubleClick Search (DS) does the following depending on the type of engine account:

    • Baidu: If you didn't specify a landing page URL for mobile devices, DS uses the keyword's non-mobile URL. If you didn't specify a non-mobile URL for the keyword,  DS copies a random landing page URL from an active ad in the ad group and adds it to the keyword.
    • Bing Ads: Even though a landing page or destination URL is specified for ads in a Bing Ads engine account, DS reports a sync error because an ad's destination URL isn't copied to keywords. (DS ignores the ad landing page specified in the Bing Ads engine account). You can see all sync errors after a sync completes.
    • All other engine accounts: DS copies a random landing page URL from an active ad in the ad group and adds it to the keywords.

    If you want specific landing pages for your keywords, specify the landing page URLs before running a sync.

  • Each ad has a landing page URL.
  • The URL is in a valid format. A valid URL:
    • Starts with https:// or http://.
    • The domain name starts with a character from set [A-Za-z0-9{}]
    • Any curly braces form a matching pair ('{', '}'); nested curly braces are acceptable.
    • Does not contain DS-specific reserved parameters.
    • Does not contain spaces. (Replace any spaces with %20.)
    • Only contains US-ASCII characters.
  • AdWords ValueTrack parameters are not HTML encoded

Encoded characters in URLs

DS usually unencodes any encoded characters in your URLs just before redirecting to your landing page. For example, if you set this landing page URL:

After a customer clicks your ad, DS unecodes the URL and redirects:

If you need to pass encoded characters to your landing pages, do one of the following to prevent DS from unencoding:

  • Include an unencoded ? in the URL, either at the beginning of the query string or—if the landing page URL doesn't specify a query string—at the end of the URL. Make sure the landing page URL does not contain an encoded question mark (%3f).

    For example, if you set this landing page URL:
    DS retains the encoded character and redirects to:

    Similarly, if you set this landing page URL:
    DS retains the encoded character and redirects to:

    If you set this landing page URL:
    DS unencodes the URL (because the URL contains an encoded ? character):

  • Double encode characters and make sure the URL does not contain an encoded 
    question mark (%3f).

    For example:
    After a customer clicks your ad, DS will redirect to this URL:

    Note that the following URL preserves the double encoding because it contains an unencoded ?:
    After a customer clicks your ad, DS will redirect to this URL:

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