What is AdWords Parallel Tracking?

If you are currently running an AdWords campaign then you have been inundated with emails from Google AdWords support discussing about tracking templates and parallel tracking. For most of us, we had no idea what parallel tracking is and how it “could” impact us and why Google is sending out these emails telling us about changes to this function within AdWords and how we may be impacted.

What is Parallel Tracking?

Google has stated that “parallel tracking helps load your landing page more quickly which can reduce lost visits. That can lead to increased conversions, and improved ad performance. Parallel tracking sends customers directly from your ad to your final URL while click measurement happens in the background (without sending them to the tracking URLs first)”. The purpose of parallel tracking is decreasing webpage load time which improves end-user experience (and increases conversions).

The Parallel Tracking Process

The benefit of parallel tracking is that it takes the customer straight to the landing page while other tracking variables are loading in the background. This creates a better end-user experience and can lead to higher conversions. If your website is slow to load, then this will not help speed up your website’s page speed.  Test your website’s page speed here

Here is how the parallel tracking process will work:

Customer clicks on the ad >>>Customer sees the landing page

Meanwhile, in the background:

  1. Google Ads click tracker loads
  2. Tracking URL loads
  3. 3rd party click trackers load

Without parallel tracking (as it is currently working), it takes longer for customers to reach your landing page. Here’s what the process looks like without parallel tracking:

Customer clicks the ad>>>Google Ads click tracker loads>>>Tracking URL loads>>>Possible additional tracking URL loads>>>Customer sees the landing page

As you can see from the example above, there are many more steps that need to occur before the customer can see the landing page. More steps means more latency.

3rd Party Click Trackers

If you are using 3rd party click tracking providers, you will need to check with them to make sure their system is compatible with parallel tracking.  If the 3rd party click platform has any incompatibility issues with parallel tracking then Google is stating that the landing page could stop working when the customer turns parallel tracking on. Compatibility may vary based on the features the customer has enabled.

Why This Matters?

Google has stated in their email that went out on July 23rd that starting on October 30, parallel tracking will be required for ALL AdWords accounts. At that time, the account opt-in setting will be removed and parallel tracking will become the only click measurement method for AdWords. If you are using a tracking template and 3rd party tracking, this WILL impact your campaign.  Companies who are using tracking templates within AdWords and 3rd party click tracking need to make sure that their solution works with Google parallel tracking before the October 30 cut-off date.

Test Your Landing Pages

To test your landing pages to see how they interact with Parallel tracking, Google has set up a testing tool at the AdWords account level four advertisers to test compatibility.

Test your landing page at the AdWords campaign level

  1. Click the “Campaigns” tab.
  2. Click the “Settings” tab.
  3. Click on the campaign you want to test.
  4. Scroll down and click “Campaign URL” options.
  5. Click the edit link next to “Tracking template,” then click “Test”.

How to Activate Parallel Tracking

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the navigation menu, click “All campaigns”.
  3. In the page menu on the left, click “Settings”.
  4. Click “Account Settings”.
  5. Click “Tracking”.
  6. Click the switch next to “Parallel tracking” to turn it on.

Schedule Consultation

If you have any questions or want to see if you have parallel tracking set up within your AdWords campaign, please contact us for a consultation.