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DoubleClick Search overview

About URLs for 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 you specified for the ad

  • The landing page URL you specified for the keyword that matched the search query

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

Because different engines use different terms for the URLs that you specify for ads and keywords (such as destination URL or final URL), DS always uses the term landing page URL to refer to the URL that leads to a page on your site.

Landing page URLs for ads

Text ads always contain at least one clickable link, and most engines require you to specify a landing page URL for the link when you create the ad. If an engine requires landing page URLs for ads, DS also requires them. However, beyond meeting the engine's requirements, DS ignores landing page URLs you specify for ads and instead focuses on landing page URLs for keywords.

Landing page URLs for keywords

All engines provide the option of defining landing page URLs for individual keywords, which is needed to attribute metrics to specific keywords. When the engine serves an ad, it substitutes the keyword URL for the ad’s URL, and the keyword-specific URL enables engines to report which keyword triggered an ad to display.

The engine substitutes the keyword

In DS, you always need to define landing page URLs for individual keywords.

Clickserver URLs

To track clicks on your ads, DS generates clickserver URLs, which contain data to uniquely identify each keyword in your account. Clickserver URLs look something like this:
https://clickserve.dartsearch.net/link/click?lid=43700001411209831&ds_s_kwgid=58700000015900779&ds_e_adid={creative}&ds_e_matchtype={ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}&ds_e_device={device}&ds_url_v=2

In engine accounts that don't support shared templates, DS replaces the keyword's landing page URL with a clickserver URL and traffics the clickserver URL to the engine. In accounts that support shared templates, DS traffics the landing page URL and all of the pieces of the clickserver URL separately, then the engine assembles the pieces when it serves an ad. Learn more about clickserver URLs.

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.

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 defines a landing page URL

    If you create keywords directly in the engine without specifying landing page URLs, when you 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 landing page URL from an active ad in the ad group and adds the URL to the keyword. It isn't possible to predict which landing page URL will be copied.
       
    • 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 is not copied to keywords. (DS ignores the ad landing page specified in the Bing Ads engine account), so DS reports a sync error. You can see all sync errors after a sync completes.
    • All other engine accounts: DS copies a landing page URL from an active ad in the ad group and adds the URL to the keywords. It isn't possible to predict which landing page URL will be copied. If you want specific landing pages for your keywords, be sure to specify landing page URLs for your keywords before running a sync.
       
  • In engine accounts that require landing pages for ads, each ad defines a landing page URL
  • The URL is in a valid format. A valid URL:
    • Should start with https:// or http://.
    • The domain name should start with a character from set [A-Za-z0-9{] (note the addition of '{' in the existing rule).
    • Any curly braces you add must match ('{', '}'); nested curly braces are acceptable.
    • Should not contain any DS-specific reserved parameters (other than {ifmobile:ds_dest_url=...} in the context of the suggested device specific landing page solution).
    • Should only contain US-ASCII characters.
    • Should not contain any spaces. (Replace any spaces with %20.)
  • AdWords ValueTrack parameters are not HTML encoded
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