Use placeholder keywords to report on unsupported features

Use placeholder keywords in accounts with shared URL templates

Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Yahoo! Japan accounts

To report on unsupported targeting items such as placementsaudiences (interests and remarketing), QuickLinks, or ads from engines that use shared URL templates:

  1. In Search Ads 360, create a placeholder keyword for each placement, audience, display target, or ad you want to report on in Search Ads 360. Be sure to specify a landing page URL for the placeholder keyword.

    To report on dynamic search ads in Microsoft Advertising accounts, create a placeholder keyword for each dynamic search ad. Search Ads 360 cannot track or report on individual dynamic ad targets.
     
  2. Copy some of the identifiers that Search Ads 360 generates for the placeholders.
     
  3. In the engine, paste the identifiers into the custom parameters for the items you want to track. 

The items that you update will redirect to Search Ads 360. Search Ads 360 will then record the visit, attribute it to the placeholder keyword, and forward to the item's final URL.

 

 Note that Search Ads 360 can only report on items that meet the following criteria:

  • Can specify custom parameters.  
  • Inherit a tracking template from the ad group, campaign, or engine account.
    Search Ads 360 cannot report on items that already specify their own tracking template. For example, if you explicitly define a tracking template for a placement, Search Ads 360 cannot report on that placement. If you allow a placement to inherit the ad group, campaign, or account-level tracking template, Search Ads 360 will be able to report on the placement.
  • Search Ads 360 cannot track or report on dynamic ad targets. To report on dynamic search ads in Microsoft Advertising accounts, create a placeholder keyword for each dynamic search ad.

 

Create placeholder keywords

  1. Create an ad group to contain the placeholder keywords.

    While it's technically possible to create placeholder keywords in an existing ad group that contains other, non-placeholder keywords, creating placeholder URLs in a separate ad group or campaign makes it easy to distinguish placeholder keywords from regular keywords, and less likely that you'll accidentally serve placeholder keywords on the engine.

  2. Pause the ad group.
    Pausing the ad group prevents the engine from serving any of the keywords in the ad group.

  3. Navigate to the ad group you created and click the Keywords tab.

  4. Click + Keyword, which appears above the reporting table.

  5. In the table that appears, enter keyword text, match type, and a landing page URL for each keyword.

    Here's what to enter in each column:

    • Keyword text: Specify something to help you identify the purpose of the placeholder keyword. Because this keyword won't traffic to the engine, the keyword text will never be used to match a customer search.

    • Match type: Specify any match type that's valid for the engine. Because the keyword is in a paused ad group, the match type will never be used to match a customer search.

    • Landing page URL: Specify the URL you want Search Ads 360 to redirect users to. This could be a page on the advertiser's site or the address of another tracking service that will eventually redirect to the advertiser's site.

    For example:

    Keyword Match type Max CPC Landing page
    mortgage interest rates exact (inherited) https://www.example.com/mortgage
    home loan exact (inherited) https://www.example.com/loan

    Note that Max CPC is irrelevant for a placeholder keyword, so you can leave the default "(inherited)" value in this column.

  6. Click Save.
    The new keywords appear in the reporting table.

  7. If you created this keyword in an existing ad group that contains regular, active keywords, change the status of the keyword to Paused:

    1. Select the check box next to the keyword.

    2. Click Edit ▼ above the reporting table and select Pause.

    3. Click Save in the edit panel.

Copy the Search Ads 360 identifiers

  1. Navigate to the ad group that contains the placeholder keywords and click the Keywords tab.

  2. Add the following columns to the reporting table:

    • ID: This contains the unique ID Search Ads 360 generated for each keyword. You'll paste this value into a custom parameter in the engine.

    • Ad group ID: This contains the unique ID Search Ads 360 generated for the ad group. You'll also paste this value into a custom parameter in the engine.

Paste the identifiers into custom parameters

  • Paste the identifiers into the custom parameters for the items you want to track.

    Google Ads accounts

    If you've set up Google Ads campaigns that target the Google Display Network (GDN), Search Ads 360 can report on keywords and text ads in those Google Ads campaigns by default.

     

    1. Sign in to Google Ads.  
    2. Enable custom bids, which is required before you can edit a display item's tracking template.   
    3. Navigate to display targeting items or ads you want to track.
      For example, to navigate to placement targets, click the Display Network tab, and then click the Placements tab.  
    4. Display the tracking template and custom parameter options in the Google Ads reporting table:
      1. Click the Columns button, and then click Modify columns.
      2. In the Modify columns window, click Attributes.
      3. Next to Tracking template, click Add.
      4. Next to Custom parameter, click Add.
      5. Click Apply to close the window.
    5. Make sure the Tracking template column is empty.
      If an item already specifies its own tracking template, the item will not inherit a tracking template that contains a Search Ads 360 clickserver URL and Search Ads 360 will not be able to report on the item.
    6. In the Custom parameter column, click the    (pencil icon) and enter the following:
      • Name: dssagcrid
      • Value: lid=keyword-id&ds_s_kwgid=ad-group-id
        Where:
        • keyword-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 ID column.
        • ad-group-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 Ad group ID column.

      For example:
      {_dssagcrid}=lid=43700006505881321&ds_s_kwgid=58700000448996899
      Example of creating a custom parameter with identifiers from a placeholder keyword.

    7. Click Save.

    How does this work?

    Here's an overview of how Search Ads 360 uses the placeholder keywords and custom parameters to report on display targeting items:

    1. To report on activity in a Google Ads account, Search Ads 360 generates one clickserver URL for each Search Ads 360 URL template you've defined. Then Search Ads 360 encodes the clickserver URL as part of the URL template and then traffics the template to Google Ads.
       
    2. Google Ads saves the Search Ads 360 URL template as a tracking template. 
       
    3. When Google Ads serves an ad triggered by a targeting item, it applies a tracking template and all custom parameters in the path to the final URL.
      For example, if you define custom parameters for your placements and a final URL for an ad, when Google Ads serves the ad, it includes the custom parameters from the placement that caused the ad to display.
       
    4. Because the tracking template contains a clickserver URL, when a customer clicks the targeting item, the click is redirected to Search Ads 360. Search Ads 360 uses information in the clickserver URL and in the _dssagcrid custom parameter to attribute the click to the placeholder keyword you created for the targeting item.
       
    5. When you review a report in Search Ads 360, the placeholder keyword will show visits, as well as conversion data attributed to the associated targeting item in the display campaign.

    All Google Ads engine accounts in Search Ads 360 receives a URL template at the account level by default. This ensures that Search Ads 360 can track all items that use custom parameters and a tracking template in Google Ads. Because URL templates are hierarchical, you can also define additional URL templates at lower levels in an engine account. For example, you could create a separate URL template for each ad group and specify ad-group specific parameters in the template. On the Google Ads side, Google Ads will apply the lowest-level template that's available. For example, Google Ads will apply ad-group level templates if you defined them. Otherwise, it will apply campaign templates or the account-level template.

    Microsoft Advertising

    1. Sign in to Microsoft Advertising and navigate to the item that you want to track in Search Ads 360.
    2. Make sure the item's Tracking URL field is empty.
      If an item already specifies its own tracking template, it will not inherit the Search Ads 360 tracking URL and Search Ads 360 will not be able to report on the item.
    3. Add a custom parameter to the item that contains the following data: 
      • Name: dssagcrid
      • Value: lid=keyword-id&ds_s_kwgid=ad-group-id
        Where:
        • keyword-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 ID column.
        • ad-group-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 Ad group ID column.

      For example:
      {_dssagcrid}=lid=43700006505881321&ds_s_kwgid=58700000448996899

    Yahoo! Japan

    1. Sign in to Yahoo! Japan and navigate to the item you want to track in Search Ads 360, such as a QuickLink.
    2. Make sure the item's Tracking URL field is empty.
      If an item already specifies its own tracking template, it will not inherit the Search Ads 360 tracking URL and Search Ads 360 will not be able to report on the item.
    3. Add a custom parameter for the item that contains the following data:
      • Name: dssagcrid
      • Value: lid=keyword-id&ds_s_kwgid=ad-group-id
        Where:
        • keyword-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 ID column.
        • ad-group-id is the value from the Search Ads 360 Ad group ID column.

      For example:
      {_dssagcrid}=lid=43700006505881321&ds_s_kwgid=58700000448996899

 

 

Next steps

To report on placeholder keywords, add any of the following columns to the reporting table:

You can then save the report view that includes your selected columns so that you can quickly display the report the next time you want it.

 

 

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?