How to upgrade URLs with cross-domain redirects

Learn about final URLs and tracking templates

What’s my final URL?

Your final URL is the page on your website that people reach when they click your ad. It doesn’t have to be the same as your display URL, but the domains (e.g. the “example.com” in “www.example.com”) must match.

With Upgraded URLs,  which make use of tracking templates, the landing page URL is separated from the tracking portion of the URL. So you don’t have to put any tracking information in your final URL.

What’s a tracking template?

A tracking template is a place where you put URL tracking information. For example, you may want to track clicks from a certain campaign or ad group.

Tracking templates use URL parameters to customize either your tracking URL or final URL.

What does my tracking information look like?

If there are cross-domain redirects in your URLs, once someone clicks your ad, he or she will pass through a website with a different domain before or after reaching your landing page. You might also use parameters (things like “source=google” and “ad={creative}”) in them. Those parameters record certain details about the ad into the URL once someone clicks it.

With Upgraded URLs, this tracking information will move from the destination URL to the new field called “Tracking template.”

Example

Suppose your landing page URL is "http://www.examplebusiness.com/buy" .

But you want to track traffic to the landing page URL from campaign A.  In your tracking template, you could write:

{lpurl}?source_campaign={_campaignA}

Learn more about URL parameters

What URL will customers see?

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.

Alert:  Please be sure you are using Google Ads Editor 12.4 or higher. Using an older version may result in the deletion of some of your previous URL and parallel tracking changes. Check which Google Ads Editor version you're using.

To further safeguard your parallel tracking changes from being deleted, some edits made in the previous AdWords experience (including those to campaigns, ad groups, keywords, ads and extensions) may be rejected. To complete these edits, switch over to the new Google Ads experience. Determine which Google Ads experience you’re using.

What's a cross-domain redirect?

If you have a cross-domain redirect set up, that means that once someone clicks your ad, he or she will pass through a website with a different domain (for example, the “example.com” in “www.example.com”) before or after reaching your landing page.

Redirects can be set up within a destination URL or your own website. Below are some examples. They’re considered “cross-domain” redirects because someone will visit different domains between clicking an ad and visiting a landing page.

Example 1

Display URL: example.com
Landing page URL: https://example-redirect.com?url=https://example.com/somepage

What happens: When someone clicks on this ad, he or she will first be directed to https://example-redirect.com/ before landing on https://example.com/somepage.

Example 2

Display URL: example.com
Landing page URL: https://example-redirect.com/12345678

What happens: When someone clicks on this ad, he or she will first be directed to https://example-redirect.com/12345678 before landing on https://example.com/somepage. The landing page is stored on https://example-redirect.com/12345678.

Example 3

Display URL: example.co.uk
Landing page URL: https://example.com

What happens: When someone clicks on this ad, he or she will first be directed to https://example.com before landing on https://example.co.uk/somepage. The server on example.com will automatically redirect visitors based on the country that they’re in.

Example 4

Display URL: example.com
Landing page URL: https://www.example.com/yourpage

What happens: When someone clicks on your ad, he or she will first be directed to https://www.example.com/yourpage, then directed to https://example-redirect.com before landing on https://www.example.com/yourotherpage. Code on your website triggers these redirects.

Our advertising policies state that an ad’s landing page must have the same domain as the display URL. With Upgraded URLs, cross-domain redirects aren’t allowed to be in the “Final URL” field, and must be set up in the “Tracking template” field.

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