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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.

Create and edit URLs and parameters

About URLs for text ads and keywords

When you create a text ad, you specify the URL for a page on your site that describes the service or product in the ad. Different engines use different terms for this URL, such as destination URL or final URL. DoubleClick Search calls this the landing page URL.

All engines require you to specify a landing page URL for each text ad. In addition, if you change an ad's landing page URL, the engine removes the ad and creates a new one with the new URL. Performance history from the old ad is not carried over to the new ad.

Landing page URLs for keywords

In AdWords engine accounts, you can optionally specify landing page URLs for individual keywords. Because you can change a keyword's landing page URL without causing the engine to create a new keyword, the additional flexibility may be worth the extra work of creating URLs for individual keywords. Note that some DoubleClick Search features, such as landing page tests, require URLs for individual keywords. Learn more

In other types of engine accounts, DS requires you to specify both a landing page URL for each text ad and a landing page URL for each keyword. The landing page URL is used to attribute conversions and other activity to individual keywords. (In AdWords accounts, custom parameters in the DS clickserver URL ensure that DS can attribute conversions to individual keywords.)

When an engine serves an ad, it checks to see if the keyword that matched the query has a landing page URL. If it detects a keyword landing page URL, the engine substitutes the keyword URL for the ad’s URL.

The engine substitutes the keyword


URL templates

Most advertisers add one or more URL parameters to their tracking URLs (or landing page URLs) to provide additional information to the site. For example, an advertiser may use a URL parameter to pass the keyword that matched the customer query, along with the name of the search campaign. 

If you want the same types of parameters for all ads and keywords in an account, campaign, or ad group, instead of manually adding the same parameters to each landing page URL, you can create a URL template and apply the parameters automatically. If you change a template, DoubleClick Search (DS) automatically updates the landing page URLs that are using the template.

In engines that support tracking templates, DS copies the data you specify in a URL template into the tracking template in the engine. 

Learn more about URL templates.

Clickserver URLs

In addition to the landing page URL, DoubleClick Search (DS) requires a tracking URL. When consumers click your ad, the click is redirected to DS. DS uses data in the tracking URL to report visitsconversions, and other activity that occurs after the click. DS automatically generates its tracking URL (called a clickserver URL) and copies it to the engine for you. While you don't normally need to view clickserver URLs, when troubleshooting problems with tracking or landing page URLs, it may help to understand how clickserver URLs are generated and assembled. 

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 ad has a landing page URL.
  • In engine accounts other than AdWords, 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:

    • AdWords: Nothing. Landing page URLs for keywords are optional in AdWords engine accounts.
    • 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.
    • 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.

  • 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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