Parallel Tracking in Google Ads (Adwords)

What is it ?

  • Since the inception of AdWords and paid media tracking, Google has quickly sent users to an interim landing page (tracking page), then quickly redirected to the landing page.

    • All this occurs very quickly and is unnoticeable to many users. This is called a linear redirect tracking pattern.
  • Recently Google introduced an alternative tracking pattern where traffic goes directly to the intended landing page, while click details tracking happens in a separate process. This is called parallel tracking, since there are two events happening simultaneously.

    • Parallel tracking uses a new browser technology called navigator.sendBeacon which is not included yet in all browsers.
  • Parallel tracking will be mandatory on all Google Ads accounts starting on October 30th 2018. After this date visitors with browsers that support navigator.sendBeacon will be sent to the Parallel Tracking model, while visitors with older browser will continue to use the Linear Redirect model.

Current (linear redirect) model
Google SERP ➡️ redirect page ➡️ landing page

Parallel model

Parallel Model
Google SERP ➡️ landing page
➡️ tracking URL

Parallel Model

Why change?

  • Google cites delays of “hundreds of milliseconds” that result in the current linear tracking method. This delay is literally the same as the blink of an eye but Google is adamant that it can negatively impact campaign performance, especially on mobile devices.
  • Mobile pages, especially on slower networks, will see the greatest benefit from parallel tracking. This assumes that the mobile user has an updated browser version that’s compatible with parallel tracking.
  • Some desktop users (again those on very slow networks) will see a slight improvement. However, the majority of desktop users will see almost no difference.

How does CPV Lab Pro handle Parallel Tracking?

  • CPV Lab Pro offers the option to track visitors without having them access the Campaign URL (redirect page) by using the Direct Traffic feature. This feature was added some time ago when Google first announced their intentions to ban redirect pages and send traffic directly to the Landing Page.

  • The Direct Traffic feature uses a piece of code that gets placed in the Landing Page and performs all the tracking instead of the Campaign URL (base.php page).

  • In order to capture all the Extra Tokens correctly with the Direct Traffic code you need to upgrade first to CPV Lab Pro version 4.1!

Will this affect you?

  • If you are running Google Ads (Adwords) campaigns, then this will affect you and changes are required in your Google Ads campaigns before October 30th 2018.
  • The biggest change will come if you are Direct Linking to Offers instead of using Landing Pages because the new Parallel Tracking model makes it impossible to track visitors that are sent directly to the Offer page (no subID can be added in this case and conversions cannot be tracked).

What to change?

1. (OPTIONAL) Use Landing Page in Campaign

  • If you are Direct Linking to Offer pages, then the fix is to switch to using a Landing Page in your Google Ads campaigns.
  • There are many advantages to putting a landing page between the ad and the offer and generally you can get more profits by doing this.

2. CPV Lab Pro campaign setup

  • The CPV Lab Pro campaign setup will remain unchanged.
  • You need to
    • get the Direct Traffic code provided on the Campaign Setup page
    • and place it in your Landing Pages somewhere in the “body” tag.
  • This code is provided at the bottom of the Campaign Setup Page in 2 versions (JavaScript and PHP) so use the appropriate one based on the Landing Page type.
  • If your Landing Page is a PHP page, then use the PHP version, otherwise use the JavaScript version.

Direct traffic code

  • Before adding the Direct Traffic code in your Landing Page you need to replace the ‘xxx’ part with the actual Landing Page ID defined in CPV Lab Pro Campaign page.
  • Make sure that you defined unique IDs for all Landing Page and Offers in your campaign!

3. Google Ads (adwords) account setup

  • Now you need to make changes in your Google Ads (Adwords) account to make sure you are linking to the Landing Page instead of the CPV Lab Pro Campaign URL.
  • You will need to define your Landing Page as the Final URL for all your ads and to leave the Tracking Template empty since the Direct Traffic code will handle visitors tracking.
  • The Tracking Template can be defined either at Account level, either at Campaign level, either at Ad Level.
  • Copy any parameters that were previously added to the Tracking Template (Campaign URL) and place them in the Final URL Suffix field.

Parallel Tracking Ads changes

  • After making these changes you can go to your Campaign Settings page in Google Ads, Campaign URL Options page and select the ‘TEST’ link to make sure your setup is correct.
  • You should see ‘(none)’ as the Tracking template and your Landing Page URL with the desired parameters as Click URLs, like in the following image:

Parallel Tracking test setup

Example Campaign Results
  • You can see below an example of a Parallel Tracking campaign results and how the data is captured in the CPV Lab Pro Tokens

Parallel Tracking campaign results

What if I want to rotate traffic between 2 or more landing pages?

  • Since you are direct linking to the landing page instead of using the Campaign URL in your Google Ads campaign, you cannot have the landing pages rotated directly and you need an alternative approach.
  • One solution is to create different ads in Google Ads for different landing pages.
  • Another solution that will actually allow you to split-test the same ad is to use the MV Lab tool which offers a Landing Page Rotator option.
  • MV Lab will generate the code to create a redirect page that will be uploaded in the same server location as the landing pages.
    • Then in your ad defined in Google Ads you will use the URL of the redirect page instead of the URL of the landing page.
    • Visitors come from Google to the redirect page first, then they are sent to one of the landing pages based on the share% defined in your campaign setup page.

LP Rotator

  • MV Lab is a multivariate testing tool which integrates with CPV Lab Pro and can also act as a Landing Page Rotator for your CPV Lab Pro campaigns.

ValueTrack parameters

  • ValueTrack parameters are URL parameters you can add to your ads' URLs in order to pass information about the source of your clicks.

  • These are defined in CPV Lab Pro as Keyword Token, Ad Token and Extra Tokens in order to be captured and included in Reports.

  • Previously you would add these parameters to the Tracking template field in Google ads because here is where you used to add the CPV Lab Pro Campaign URL.

  • Now, since you are tracking everything with the Direct Traffic code, you need to pass these parameters directly to the Landing Page so you would add these parameters in the Final URL suffix field.

    • You should add here all the parameters from the Campaign URL after the ‘key’ parameter (check image below).

Value Track Parameters

Example of Campaign URL and ValueTrack parameters

http://cpvlabpro-domain/base.php?c=6&key=84298ea771445e1a9470d8e2271e51cb&keyword={keyword}&ad={creative}&network={network}&adpos={adposition}&match={matchtype}

Available Google Ads ValueTrack parameters that you can include in your campaigns:
Parameter Description
{campaignid} The campaign ID. (Use this when you've set up your tracking info at account level and want to know which campaign served your ad.)
{adgroupid} The ad group ID. (Use this when you've set up your tracking info at the account or campaign level and want to know which ad group served your ad.)
{feeditemid} The ID of the extension that was clicked.
{targetid} The ID of the keyword (labeled "kwd"), dynamic search ad ("dsa") target, remarketing list target ("aud"), or product partition ("pla") that triggered an ad.
{loc_interest_ms} The ID of the location of interest that helped trigger the ad. See developer website for location IDs.
{loc_physical_ms} The ID of the geographical location of the click. See developer website for location IDs.
{matchtype} The match type of the keyword that triggered your ad: "e" for exact, "p" for phrase, or "b" for "broad"
{network} Where the click came from: "g" for Google search, "s" for a search partner, or "d" for the Display Network
{device} What device the click came from: "m" for mobile (including WAP), "t" for tablet, and "c" for computer
{devicemodel} What model of phone or tablet the click came from (for example, "Apple+iPhone"). Note: only available on Display Network campaigns
{ifmobile:[value]} Whatever you define for "[value]," if your ad's clicked from a mobile phone
{ifnotmobile:[value]} Whatever you define for "[value]," if your ad's clicked from a computer or tablet
{ifsearch:[value]} Whatever you define for "[value]," if your ad's clicked from a site in the Google Search Network
{ifcontent:[value]} Whatever you define for "[value]," if your ad's clicked from a site in the Google Display Network
{creative} A unique ID for your ad
{keyword} For the Search Network: the keyword from your account that matches the search query, unless you are using a Dynamic Search ad, which returns a blank value. For the Display Network: the keyword from your account that matches the content.
{placement} The content site where your ad was clicked (for keyword-targeted campaigns), or the matching placement targeting criteria for the site where your ad was clicked (for placement-targeted campaigns)
{target} A placement category (works with placement-targeted campaigns only)
{param1} Creative parameter #1, if you're using the AdParamService with the Google Ads API (AdWords API)
{param2} Creative parameter #2, if you're using the AdParamService with the Google Ads API (AdWords API)
{adposition} The position on the page that your ad appeared in, with a value like "1t2"(this means page 1, top, position 2)

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