Posted: Thursday 23rd July 2015 in Industry News.

D-day for Destination URL

On 1st July Destination URL came to an end with Google’s latest AdWords API update. This update has superseded the use of Destination URL along with the copy function, therefore it has forced changes in the way we track and use landing pages
within any tool.

As Destination URL has now retired, the new and improved Final URL and its comrade tracking template are to be used instead. This new method works by setting the landing page as the Final URL and applying any tracking within the tracking template.

Is change good?

There are positive reasons for this change using Final URL and a tracking template. The tracking template allows you to set tracking at all levels: account, campaign ad group, ad, keyword and sitelinks. If a tracking template is created at a lower more granular level, this will override any tracking template at a higher level. We advise that you set your tracking template at account level to capture all data just in case you forget to apply the tracking template at a lower level. This will reduce the number of discrepancies.

Using a tracking template will make any tracking changes quicker and easier to apply, and reduce the time that you spend managing the URL tracking updates. We can also benefit from all of the ValueTrack parameters that are available, including three custom parameters at each different level within an account. The ability to create new custom parameters means that you can collect additional data to enhance campaign optimisation.

Tip: in principal this sounds like a good idea, however we need to ensure that the additional data collected is correct and adds value to the campaign – this is the challenge we currently face.

New features come with new challenges

As we have been making the change from Destination URL to Final URL we have found that it is not as straight forward as we first thought.

Some of the challenges we have faced are:

  • Understanding Final Mobile URLs
  • Using click tracking with URLs containing ‘?’ and ‘&’
  • URLs containing curly brackets
  • Upgrading ads to Final URL within AdWords Editor

For more advice on these challenges and how to overcome them, please drop us a line.

Overview of upgraded URLs

As an upgrade deadline of 1st July was set, this resulted in everyone trying to upgrade before this date, which has created a backlog of getting ads, keywords, etc. approved by Google. Here at Summit we have successfully upgraded all of our clients, overcoming the challenges we faced in the process, and we are happy to share our insights with you.

If you have not updated to upgraded URLs yet, don’t worry; it isn’t the end of the world. Destination URL still works; however, it is now set as ‘read only’, so everything pre-deadline is still there. Everything will slowly start to migrate across to Final URL.

What you can do today

If you have not yet started using Final URL, we would suggest you start by creating the tracking template at account level. If/when Google or you decide to upgrade to use Final URL you are then ready from an account point of view and you will not have any tracking downtime.

Here at Summit we are looking forward to collecting and analysing the additional data that is now available to us with ValueTrack parameters. So watch out for our next blog post on this topic where we will be looking into how retailers can take advantage of the additional data within their online marketing efforts.

If you would like anymore information, please email us at [email protected].