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How to Track Google Ads with Parallel Tracking Enabled

This document will cover the following topics:

  • What is Parallel Tracking within Google Ads?
  • How does this affect CAKE users? 
  • What is the recommended implementation for CAKE + Google Ads users?

What is Parallel Tracking within Google Ads?

According to Google, 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). 

Here’s what parallel tracking looks like:

  1. Customer clicks your ad
  2. Customer sees your landing page

At the same time, in the background:

  1. Google Ads click tracker loads
  2. Tracking URL loads
  3. If you use more than one click tracker, additional redirects may load.

Without parallel tracking, customers go through one or more redirects after clicking your ad before they reach your landing page. This means it takes longer for customers to reach your landing page.

Here’s what tracking looks like without parallel tracking:

  1. Customer clicks your ad
  2. Google Ads click tracker loads
  3. Tracking URL loads
  4. Possible additional tracking URL loads
  5. Customer sees your landing page

Resource Pages from Google's Support Portal:

How Does this Affect CAKE Clients? 

Today (September 2018), this is an optional feature that can be enabled for advertisers who use click measurement for Search Network and Shopping Campaign tracking. However, starting October 30, 2018, parallel tracking will be required for all Google Ads accounts.

For Active Tracking users, Google will send traffic to the landing page rather than CAKE redirecting to the landing page when the tracking link is placed in Google’s tracking template field. This allows Google to send the users directly to the Landing Page for better load times while simultaneously telling CAKE that a click occurred. The consumers click can still be tracked via cookie session.

It is important to note that while the link may be formatted for active tracking, there is no redirect through CAKE and therefore the following features will not work:

  • redirect parameters & CAKE tokens (e.g. REQID and other tokens)
    • If using server tracking, the REQID will need to be captured from the Cookie/Session on the browser as it will not be passed in the query string to the Landing Page.
  • caps
  • redirects
  • rules targeting 

CAKE clients that are using Passive Tracking through the Dynamic Click Pixel and Google's Tracking Template will not be affected by the Parallel Tracking change.

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