Google Ads Parallel Tracking & Webtrekk

 

by Michael Diestelberg, VP Product & Marketing, Webtrekk

 

In May 2018, Google announced the adding of Parallel Tracking to Google Ads. As of October 2018, Parallel Tracking is no longer optional in Google Ads accounts and is there by default.

Let’s take a look at what it means for Webtrekk users – keep reading to see if there are any ‘To-Do’s’ for your Google Ads or Webtrekk account…

 

What is Google Parallel Tracking?

With a new sendBeacon browser function Google Ads runs tracking in the background when a user clicks an ad. This helps the user get to the destination URL faster. Google claims that Parallel Tracking can increase visits to your landing page by reducing the likelihood of the tracking URL not completing before the person sees your landing page – in other words, tracking can sometimes slow down page load time and some people, after they click an ad, don’t stick around and wait.

Main ‘To-Do’ for all Advertisers

The most common action for all Google Ads customers is only for those advertisers who send clicks to HTTP pages. They need to implement server-side HTTPS to HTTP redirect.

Why? Because Google Ads parallel tracking converts all clicks into HTTPS first.

“Ensure that your tracking server uses the HTTPS protocol, and that any internal redirects you have set up at your end use HTTPS. The final URL can use HTTP or HTTPS but if you use HTTP landing pages, you must set up your server to redirect any HTTP calls to the HTTP page. Any redirect mechanism that uses an on-page method, like a JavaScript redirect, won't work. If you use any such redirection mechanisms in your tracking redirect chain, they need to be changed.”
Source: Google Developer Support

You can test your pages here with Google Ads Parallel Tracking testing tool.

Ideally your landing pages are already HTTPS and so you can relax. Before you completely relax though, if you use Webtrekk you might have a few more ‘to do’s.’ Take a look…

 

What do I need to do if I use Webtrekk?

Good News for Webtrekk Users: in most cases no changes are necessary for Webtrekk tracking.

But, if you suddenly noticed Webtrekk Analytics tracking problems in November 2018 then you’re one of the few who need to take action, if you haven’t already.

Check your situation here…

Scenario Where Action is Required for Webtrekk Users

SCENARIO: You are using Redirects in Your Template or Redirects in Destination URLs but you have not added Webtrekk tracking in Google Ads

IMPACT: Your Webtrekk Tracking Will No Longer Work

CHANGE NEEDED: Use the new Google Ads function called “Final URL Suffix.” The Final URL Suffix is a template field that works like tracking templates whereby you can enter necessary tracking parameters on the landing page. Like tracking templates, this can be done globally by using value track parameters as placeholders.

 

A little more explanation…

In rare Webtrekk customer cases, Webtrekk tracking parameters are not stored directly in the tracking templates but were appended with a redirect to the destination URL of the landing page.

Parallel Tracking means that Google Ads will call the landing page directly and, at the same time, add the redirect into a parallel stream. In order to avoid multiple calls to the landing page through Parallel Tracking, the destination URL in the redirect is replaced by a Google URL. The result is that the redirect no longer leads to the landing page.

Webtrekk tracking parameters can only be read out on the landing page. If you use the redirect to add these parameters to the destination URL this method will no longer work. You would have probably noticed by now that your Webtrekk Analytics data has changed as of 1st Nov 2018, if this was the case for your Webtrekk account.

Google Ads now has added a new function called “Final URL Suffix” to cope with this scenario. The Final URL Suffix is another template field which works similar to tracking templates. Here is where you enter necessary tracking parameters on the landing page which now, due to the Google Ads Parallel Tracking change, would be lost during a redirect. Just like tracking templates, Final URL Suffix can also be set at the globally account level using value track parameters as placeholders.

The new scenario:
Destination URL:  www.acme.com
Final URL Suffix:  wt_mc=abc
Tracking Template:  redirect.com?url={lpurl}
Browser Call:  www.amce.com?wt_mc=abc
Tracker Call: redirect.com?url=*

 

Further Information

Webtrekk Clients
If you are a Webtrekk user and you would like further information or technical support please contact your Webtrekk Consultant or read more in our Support Center.