Test landing pages

URL requirements for DS landing page tests

The requirements for the original, control, experiment URLs, and clickserver URLs in a DoubleClick Search (DS) landing page test are different for AdWords engine accounts and other types of accounts.

Requirements in AdWords engine accounts

Original URL

To ensure that DS can correctly replace or update the original URL with a URL from the test (if you choose to do so when you stop the test), note the following requirements for original URLs:

  • The original URL can contain dynamic parameters in the main portion of the URL. For example, you can test keywords with any of the following original URLs:
    • https://{ifmobile:m.example.com}{ifnotmobile:www.example.com}

    • https://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content

  • The original URL can also contain dynamic parameters and static parameters in the query string. For example, you can test a keyword with the following URL:
    https://www.example.com/snow?matchtype={matchtype}&p_id_static=4
    This URL contains both dynamic and static parameters in the query string.
  • In device-specific tests, the original URL and all test URLs are required to use the same HTTP scheme (http or https). That is, the original URL and the test URLs all need to start with http, or the original URL and the test URLs all need to start with https.

    In tests that run on all devices, you can specify a different HTTP scheme for the original URL and test  URLs.

  • The landing page test ignores any Final Mobile URL you created for the keyword. Learn more.

Control and experiment URLs

  • Test URLs cannot contain dynamic parameters in the main portion of the URL.
    For example, you cannot specify either of the following for a control URL or experiment URL:
    https://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}
    https://{ifmobile:m.example.com}{ifnotmobile:www.example.com}
  • Unlike landing page tests in other types of engine accounts, in AdWords accounts DS does not append parameters from the original URL's query string to the test URLs. If you want to send URL parameters to your landing page during a test, you'll need to define the parameters in a URL template, or include the parameters directly in the test URLs. 
  • The query string of the URLs in a test can contain static parameters and any type of dynamic parameter except ifmobile and ifnotmobile. For example you can use these URLs in a test:
    • Control: https://www.example.com/?a=3&m={match}

    • Experiment: https://www.example.com/?a=4&m={match}

  • ​The ifmobile/ifnotmobile dynamic parameters are not supported in test URLs. Instead, you specify a device type when you start a test.

Clickserver URL

When you start a landing page test in AdWords engine accounts, DoubleClick Search (DS) temporarily creates a URL template for the keyword. The new template includes:

  • The original URL, including any tracking URL and URL parameters from the template the keyword was using before the test.
    (The original URL is included as a fallback in case errors are encountered.)
  • Any dynamic parameters specified in the test URLs and in the URL template the keyword was using before the test

If you look at the Clickserver URL column for a keyword in a landing page test, you'll see a URL like this:
https://clickserve.dartsearch.net/.../?ds_dest_url=http%3A%2F%2Fpage.com%2Fmain%3Fd%3D{device}%26m%3D{matchtype}%26n%3D{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}&ds_lpt_param1={device}&ds_lpt_param2={matchtype}&ds_lpt_param3={ifsearch:search}&ds_lpt_param4={ifcontent:content}&ds_lpt_param5={targetid}&ds_lpt_param6={creative}&ds_lpt_end

In the URL above:

  • DS encodes the original URL and includes it as the value of the ds_dest_url parameter: http%3A%2F%2Fpage.com%2Fmain%3Fd%3D{device}%26m%3D{matchtype}%26n%3D{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}

  • The dynamic URL parameters from the test URLs and from the URL template are included in parameters named ds_lpt_param1, ds_lpt_param2, and so on.

When the clickserver URL is directed to DS, DS determines which test URL to use, and then it provides values for the dynamic parameters as returned from the engine. The order of parameters will be preserved.

If you created a device-specific test but the device-specific URL is invalid or missing, DS redirects to the original landing page URL instead.

When the test ends, DS removes the temporary template. The keyword will return to using its own template or to inheriting a higher URL template.

Requirements in Bing Ads and Yahoo! Japan engine accounts

After a customer clicks an ad and is redirected to DS, DS determines if the keyword that caused the ad to appear is in a landing page test. If the keyword is in a test, DS constructs a landing page URL as follows:

  • DS takes one of the URLs in the landing page test and appends the URL parameters from the clickserver URL that was trafficked to the engine:
    test URL + query string from the clickserver URL 

DS then forwards the customer to the landing page URL it constructed. 

To ensure that DS can correctly construct this landing page URL, note the following requirements for original landing page URLs and test URLs in non-AdWords engine accounts.

Original landing page URL in Bing Ads and Yahoo! Japan engine accounts

  • No dynamic parameters in the main portion of the URL:
    In the keyword’s original landing page URL, the protocol, hostname, and path portion cannot contain dynamic parameters, such as dynamic text in Bing Ads. For example, you cannot test a keyword with any of the following original landing page URLs:

    https://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}
    https://{ifmobile:m.example.com}{ifnotmobile:www.example.com}

    If you’re using the ifmobile and ifnotmobile parameters to direct traffic to different device types, you'll need to use an alternate form of the device-specific URL.

  • Dynamic parameters in the query string:
    If the original landing page URL contains a dynamic parameter in the query string, DS will add the dynamic parameter to the keyword’s clickserver URL. The engine will then provide a value for the parameter, and DS will append the parameter to the just before it redirects to the control or experiment URL.
  • Static parameters in the query string:
    If the original landing page URL contains a static parameter, the engine's parameter-handling option determines whether DS adds the parameter to the keyword’s clickserver URL. If you select the Include all parameters (not full URL) option, then DS appends static parameters to clickserver URLs, and DS will append the parameters before it redirects to the control or experiment URL.
For example:
  1. A keyword’s original landing page URL is
    https://www.example.com/snow?matchtype={matchtype}&p_id_static=42

  2. You create a landing page test with a control URL of
    https://www.example.com/snow-test-control
    and an experiment URL of
    https://www.example.com/snow-test-new

  3. You set the engine to add static parameters to clickserver URLs as well as dynamic parameters.

  4. When the keyword generates a click, the engine will provide the value of {matchtype}. DS then redirects to one of the following URLs based on the traffic splitting percentage you specified:
    https://www.example.com/snow-test-control?matchtype=b&p_id_static=42
    https://www.example.com/snow-test-new?matchtype=b&p_id_static=42

Control and experiment URLs in Bing Ads and Yahoo! Japan engine accounts

  • No dynamic parameters:
    The control and experiment landing page URLs that you specify in a test cannot contain dynamic parameters. For example, you cannot specify the following for a control URL or experiment URL:
    https://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}
    https://www.example.com/snow?matchtype={matchtype}
  • Static parameters:
    You can add static URL parameters to the control URL or experiment URL, and these parameters can use DS macros. However, DS does not de-duplicate parameters that are both in the clickserver URL and in the test URLs.

Clickserver URL in Bing Ads and Yahoo! Japan engine accounts

By default, clickserver URLs in non-AdWords engine accounts contain only the data DS needs to track activity and to collect any engine-provided data you've requested be made available to your site. If you use an additional third-party tracking service, or if your site requires URL parameters to be in a specific order, another user might have changed the default behavior and selected a different option for handling parameters.

Before you start a landing page test in Bing Ads and Yahoo! Japan accounts, make sure that the parameter-handling setting in the engine account is set to one of the following options:

  • Include all parameters (not full URL): This is recommended option because it's compatible with landing page tests and URL templates in a non-AdWords account. Note that with this, you could end up with duplicate parameters if both your original landing page URLs and your test URLs specify the same parameters.

  • Include only dynamic parameters: If you use this option in a non-AdWords account, your test URLs will need to specify any static URL parameters that are required by your site. With this option, DS does not pass static parameters from the original landing page URLs to the test URLs. In addition, with this option, DS does not apply any URL templates that are in effect for the keyword.

Make sure the option is not set to Include full URL (unencoded). You cannot run a landing page test with this parameter-handling option.

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