Set up custom parameters to use with your data segments

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimization simpler, you’ll see the following improvements in Google Ads:

  • New audience reporting
    Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments, and exclusions is now consolidated in one place, the “Audiences” tab within the left page navigation menu. You can also easily manage your Audiences from this report page. Learn more About Audience reporting
  • New terms
    We’re using new terms on your audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, “audience types” (these include similar, custom, in-market, and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and “remarketing” is now referred to as “your data”. Learn more about the Updates to Audience terms and phrases

Custom parameters allow you to identify your site visitors based on categories that you specify. To use custom parameters, you’ll need to add it to your global site tag. You’ll then be able to create advanced data segments that will only show your ads to site visitors that meet the conditions of your custom parameters.

In this article, you’ll learn how to edit your website code to include custom parameters in your global site tag. You’ll also find guidelines for using custom parameters with your data segments.

Instructions

How to add custom parameters to your global site tag

To implement custom parameters, you first need to set up the global site tag and add the tag to your website. This tag consists of a global site tag and an event snippet, which work in unison to track your data events. If you already have an event snippet on your site, you can add the custom parameters to your existing snippet.

Event snippet with custom parameters

<!-- Event snippet for Google Ads custom parameters -->
<script>
gtag('event', 'page_view', {'send_to': 'AW-123456789',
'parameter1': '', // Include your custom parameter here
'parameter2': '', // Include your custom parameter here
'parameter3': '' // Include your custom parameter here
});
</script>

Your web developer will need to dynamically populate the custom parameters with the relevant information. The custom parameters should be coded with the JSON format: JavaScript Object Notation, a format for transmitting structured data over a network connection.

When the code for the global site tag and the event snippet with custom parameters are placed together, the global site tag should look like the example below. This is an example of a tag before implementation. Make sure you don't copy and paste the code sample below:

Example of a global site tag in website code

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Ads: 123456789 -->
<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=AW-123456789"></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments)};
gtag('js', new Date());

gtag('config', 'AW-123456789');
</script>

<!-- Event snippet for Google Ads custom parameters -->
<script>
gtag('event', 'page_view', {'send_to': 'AW-123456789',
'section': '',
'pagetype': '',
'membertype': ''
});
</script>

Learn how to upgrade older tags in your site.

Tip

When implementing the global site tag, especially with custom parameters, you can use Google Tag Assistant to check that you're implementing the tag correctly on a specific page. This tool is a Chrome extension that automatically verifies Google code snippets on any page and can help you solve errors it detects. Download and install Tag Assistant from the Google Chrome Store.

How to build your data segments for custom parameters

The custom parameters that you send in your tag become available when you create your data segments in Google Ads. Follow these steps to create your data lists using custom parameters:

  1. Click the tools icon Google Ads | tools [Icon] in the upper right corner of your account.
  2. Under "Shared library," click Audience manager.
  3. Click the plus button , and select + Website visitors.
  4. Enter an Audience name, and check that "List members" is set to Visitors of a page.
  5. In the “Visited page” section:
    1. Select your custom parameter from the “URL” drop-down.
    2. Select an operator (examples: contains, equals, starts with).
    3. Enter a value for your custom parameter.
  6. Click Create Audience.

For example, you could select the "membertype" parameter, then select "equals," and enter "premium" to add premium site members to your list.

Creating advanced lists using AND, OR

To create an advanced list with custom parameters, you can add new conditions in an "OR" relationship (the page needs to meet any of the conditions) or in an "AND" relationship (the page needs to meet all the conditions):

  • To add new conditions in an "OR" relationship, click the OR button below the “URL” drop-down.
  • To add new conditions in an "AND" relationship, click the AND button to the right of your custom parameter.

Example

You'd like to edit the rule of your list so that it includes members who used the Contact Us form, you'd click the AND button, then set the new condition as “conversiontype > equals > contact us.”

Common lists to get started

Non-members who have viewed specific page categories

To create your data list that includes non-members who have viewed specific categories, you can use the "membertype" custom parameter to identify visitors who haven't yet registered and have viewed the "Games" section of your site. You'd set the first condition to "membertype" > "equals" > "non," and the second condition to "subsection" > "equals" > "games."

Free members who have never used the Contact Us form

Say that you want to reach visitors who have signed up but have never contacted the company. To create that list, you'd use the "membertype" custom parameter to represent visitors, and the "conversiontype" custom parameter to represent

"Contact Us" form submissions. You'd set the first condition to "membertype" > "equals" > "free," and the second condition to "conversiontype" > "does not equal" > "contact us."

Premium members who view multiple types of content on your site

Finally, suppose that you want to reach premium members who visit very specific sections on your site. You'd use the "membertype" parameter to denote premium members. And then you would use the "section," and "subsection" custom parameters to specify or rule out sections of the site. As an example, you could use the following conditions:

  • First condition: "membertype" > equals > "premium"
  • Second condition: "section" > equals > "entertainment"
  • Third condition: "subsection" > equals > "movies"
  • Fourth condition: "subsection" > does not equal > "games"
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