Migrate Google Ads accounts to parallel tracking

Migrate Search Ads 360 parameters and macros

To support features such as the Google Analytics integration and cross-channel remarketing, Search Ads 360 needs to create specific URL parameters in each account's Final URL Suffix. In addition, Search Ads 360 macros need to migrate to custom parameters.

Before you start

Before you migrate, make sure you've done the following:

Migrating your account may result in changes to URL parameters and custom parameters in your landing page URLs, and may result in your account being placed under review by Google Ads

Special permissions required

You need agency manager or advertiser manager permissions to migrate parameters to the Final URL Suffix.

How to migrate parameters and macros

  1. Navigate to an advertiser.

    Steps for navigating to an advertiser
    1. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    2. In the "Agency" list, click on the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    3. In the "Advertiser" list, click on the advertiser.

    4. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    Search Ads 360 displays the advertiser page, which contains data for all of the advertiser’s engine accounts.

  2. Click the Engine accounts tab.

  3. Optionally use filters to show only active Google Ads accounts.
    Create two filters to show active Google Ads accounts

  4. If any accounts haven't synced within the last 24 hours, sync them now.

  5. Add the following columns to the reporting table:

    • Migrate API, GA, and remarketing

    • Migrate macros to custom parameters

    These columns show which accounts need to migrate parameters and macros.

  6. Select the check box next to one or more Google Ads accounts.

  7. Click Edit and select Migrate for parallel tracking.

  8. In the "Make your account compatible with Google Ads parallel tracking" section, select both of the following check boxes:

    • Migrate Conversion API, Google Analytics, and support for cross-channel remarketing

    • Migrate Search Ads 360 macros to custom parameters

      Note: It isn't possible to schedule a migration to occur at a later time, so under "Start", Immediately is the only option.

  9. Click Save.

  10. Click Yes, I understand in the confirmation box, then click  Yes, I understand again to start the migration.

View migration status

Depending on the size of your account, migrating parameters and macros could take up to 72 hours. During this time, your ads will continue to serve, but as the migration starts updating landing page URLs, your ads and keywords may be put under review in Google Ads.

To view the migration status:

  1. Navigate to an advertiser.

    Steps for navigating to an advertiser
    1. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    2. In the "Agency" list, click on the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    3. In the "Advertiser" list, click on the advertiser.

    4. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    Search Ads 360 displays the advertiser page, which contains data for all of the advertiser’s engine accounts.

  2. Click the Engine accounts tab.

  3. Optionally use filters to show only active Google Ads accounts.

  4. Add the Migrate API, GA, and remarketing and Migrate macros to custom parameters columns to the reporting table.

    The column reports one of the following states for the account you're migrating:

    • Not started: Migration not started.
    • In progress: Migrating parameters and macros has started but isn't finished yet.
    • Completed: Migrating parameters and macros is complete. To confirm, sign into Google Ads and view the Final URL Suffix in the account settings.

Next steps

  1. Optionally learn the details about these migrations by reading the sections below.
  2. Move tracking parameters and remove unsupported macros.
  3. See if there are any remaining compatibility issues in your account.
  4. Optionally try parallel tracking in specific campaigns.
  5. Enable parallel tracking.

Why are these migrations needed?

Parameter migration

Some tracking and remarketing features require Search Ads 360 to append specific URL parameters just before redirecting to the landing page URL. For example, the Google Analytics integration requires both the gclid and gclsrc parameters to be included in the landing page URL, and remarketing across search and social channels relies on the ds_rl parameter to signal to social and search engines to add cookies to a remarketing list. (Display remarketing doesn't rely on this parameter.) In addition, some advertisers also rely on these parameters for their own tracking purposes.

Parallel tracking prevents these features from working because it sends clicks directly to the landing page without redirecting through Search Ads 360.

Macro migration

When clicks redirect through Search Ads 360, Search Ads 360 replaces any placeholders for Search Ads 360 macros with relevant values before forwarding the click to the final URL. With Google Ads parallel tracking, clicks are not redirected through Search Ads 360, so macro placeholders aren't replaced with the relevant values.

What happens during the parameter and macro migrations

  1. Search Ads 360 adds the gclsrc and {_dsmrktparam} parameters to the account's Final URL Suffix and to any other items that define their own Final URL Suffix. For example, if you specified a Final URL Suffix for "Ad Group A", Search Ads 360 adds its parameters to the account's Final URL Suffix and the the Final URL Suffix for "Ad Group A".

    The gclsrc and {_dsmrktparam} parameters are added to Final URL Suffix just before Search Ads 360 trafficks updates to Google Ads. You won't see the parameters in Search Ads 360, but if you sign into Google Ads and view the Final URL Suffix, you'll see them in Google Ads. If you accidentally remove these parameters from the Final URL Suffix in Google Ads, Search Ads 360 will add them back when you sync the account.

  2. For each type of supported macro, Search Ads 360 creates custom parameters using one of its reserved parameter names. The custom parameters are distributed within the account as follows:
    • Each campaign contains custom parameters that specify the account name and ID as well as the campaign name and ID.
    • Ad groups contain custom parameters that specify the ad group name and ID.
    • Keywords contain custom parameters that specify the keyword text and IDs. The keyword custom parameters don't appear in Search Ads 360, but you'll see them if you sign into Google Ads.
  3. Search Ads 360 traffics the custom parameters to Google Ads.
  4. Search Ads 360 replaces the macros in your URLs and URL templates with the custom parameters it created.
    For example, if a campaign's URL template specified the following before migration:
    {unescapedlpurl}?c=[*Campaign*]
    After migration, the URL template specifies the following:
    {unescapedlpurl}?c={_dscampaign}
    And one of the campaign's custom parameters is defined as follows:
    {_dscampaign} = "Hoopers+-+shoes"

    Note that custom parameters in URL templates may not be available to your landing pages, so it's recommended that you move these parameters to a Final URL Suffix or your landing page URLs.

Existing custom parameters aren't affected by the migration

Google Ads has increased the number of custom parameters that are available at each level, so even though Search Ads 360 will use some of these additional custom parameters for storing migrated macro values, you won't loose any custom parameters you've already defined.

Some types of ads are recreated instead of edited

If you use macros in URLs or URL templates for any of the following types of ads, the migration process will recreate the ad instead of editing the existing ad:

  • Shopping ad
  • Dynamic search ad (expanded format)
  • Call-only ads

Metrics from the old ad are not applied to the new ad, but you can still report on the old ad.

Duplicate gclsrc and ds_rl parameters

After you migrate Search Ads 360 parameters, your landing page URLs may have duplicate gclsrc parameters until you enable parallel tracking. If you use cross-channel remarketing, your landing page URLs may also have duplicate ds_rl parameters until you enable parallel tracking.

One set of these parameters comes from the Final URL Suffix that the migration updated. Depending on how you've set up parameters in URL templates and landing page URLs, the other set may be appended when ad clicks are redirected through Search Ads 360. When you turn on parallel tracking, ad clicks will no longer redirect through Search Ads 360, so only the gclsrc and ds_rl parameters from the Final URL Suffix will be included in your landing page URLs.

Examples

Parameter migration: before and after

Here's an example of how the gclidgclsrc, and ds_rl parameters are added to an ad's landing page URL in an advertiser that has enabled the conversions API and Google Analytics integration. In addition, the example ad is being used to build a cross-channel remarketing list for a search or social engine.

Before migrating

Landing page URL in Search Ads 360:
http://example.com/shoes

After an ad click, Search Ads 360 appends parameters and redirects to
http://example.com/shoes?gclid=123445&gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=9876543

Note that if you enable auto-tagging in Google Ads, Google Ads appends the gclid parameter when it serves an ad. When Google Ads appends gclid, Search Ads 360 only appends the gclsrc and ds_rl parameters.

After migrating

Landing page URL in Search Ads 360:
http://example.com/shoes

Custom parameter created by the migration process:
{_dsmrktparam}=ds_rl=9876543

Final URL Suffix created by the migration process:
gclsrc=aw.ds&{_dsmrktparam}

Search Ads 360 adds these parameters to Final URL Suffix just before trafficking updates to Google Ads. You won't see the parameters in Search Ads 360, but if you sign into Google Ads, you'll see them in the Final URL Suffix.

When Google Ads serves the ad, here's the landing page URL
http://example.com/shoes?gclid=123445&gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=9876543

In the landing page URL above:

  • The gclsrc parameter comes from the Final URL Suffix
  • The ds_rl parameter is the value of the {_dsmrktparam} custom parameter in the Final URL Suffix
  • The gclid parameter is generated by Google Ads auto-tagging (migration will also turn on auto-tagging in Google Ads if it is currently off)

Macro migration: before and after

  • If a campaign's URL template specified the following before migration:
    {unescapedlpurl}?c=[*Campaign*]
    After migration, the URL template specifies the following:
    {unescapedlpurl}?c={_dscampaign}
    And one of the campaign's custom parameters is defined as follows:
    {_dscampaign} = "Hoopers+-+shoes"

  • If a keyword's landing page URL specified the following before migration:
    https://example.com/?pid=1234{ignore}&c=[*Campaign*]
    After migration, the URL specifies the following:
    https://example.com/?pid=1234{ignore}&c={_dscampaign}
    And one of the keyword's custom parameters is defined as follows:
    {_dscampaign} = "Hoopers+-+shoes"

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