About tracking in Google Ads

Parallel tracking is now available for your account. Parallel tracking helps load your landing page more quickly, which can reduce lost visits. It sends customers directly from your ad to your final URL while click measurement happens in the background.  Parallel tracking is the only click measurement tracking method for all accounts. Check with your click measurement provider to make sure parallel tracking is compatible. Learn about parallel tracking.

Parallel tracking is mandatory for Search, Shopping, Display, and Video campaigns. For Hotel campaigns, parallel tracking is optional. Some accounts may still find the parallel tracking toggle in their account settings, but this option is applicable only for Hotel campaigns.

If you’re running ads, you’re already receiving valuable information like the number of times your ads have served and the number of clicks on your ads. But what if you use an analytics system outside of Google and want to track things like which clicks are coming from mobile, or how much of your ad traffic is coming from the Google Search Network versus the Google Display Network? You can access this type of information by setting up tracking in URL options.

This article explains how tracking works in Google Ads and what you can set up in URL options. Setting up tracking is a good idea if you’ve been successfully running campaigns and want to know more about your clicks.

How tracking works

If someone clicks an ad when the tracking template is entered and parallel tracking is turned on, they're taken to the final URL while the tracking template URL is loaded in the background.

If someone clicks an ad when the tracking template is entered and parallel tracking is turned off, they're taken to the tracking template URL. That URL may redirect to intermediate tracking servers before redirecting to the final URL.

If someone clicks an ad when the tracking template isn't entered, then they're taken to the final URL.

The tracking template URL and all redirect URLs need to be HTTPS to work. The redirects also need to be server-side. While Google doesn't have control over the subsequent redirects, Google Ads will always use HTTPS for the first tracking call if it's not entered as such.

About URL options

You can create or edit the URL options at the account, campaign, ad group, keyword, or sitelink level. URL options consists of three main sections:

  • Tracking template:” The field where you will put tracking information. When an ad is clicked, this information will be added to your final URL to create your landing page URL. A tracking template created at the ad group, campaign, or account level applies to all of the ads in the corresponding ad group, campaign, or account. If you define multiple tracking templates at different levels, the most specific template will be used. The keyword tracking template is the most specific followed by the ad, ad group, campaign, then account. Learn more about how to Set up your tracking template.
  • “Custom parameter:” A type of URL parameter that you can create yourself and add to your tracking templates and final URLs. Learn more on how to create custom parameters for advanced tracking
  • "Final URL suffix:" The final URL suffix field allows you to enter parameters that will be attached to the end of your landing page URL in order to track information. Learn more on how to add a Final URL suffix

Good to know

  • Setting up URL options at the ad group, campaign, or account level means that you can update your tracking information without resubmitting your ads for approval. However, if you set up or edit at the ad, keyword, or sitelink level, they will still need to go through review.
  • You can use the “Test” button to check that your tracking is set up correctly. Once you click “Test,” Google Ads will combine your final URL with any tracking you set up to make sure your ad will lead to a landing page URL. Learn more about how to test your landing page

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