Making the Most of Custom URL Parameters on AdWords

Written By: 

Marcelle Combrink

Marcelle Combrink
Leadtrekker Lead Management System

AdWords and online marketers alike are well versed Custom URL parameters. But very few use this powerful resource because most of the data being captured in a custom URL can be viewed through an Analytics report.

But for the elite few who make use of lead management software that captures these variables, there are a few added benefits. Linking customers to keywords, ads, ad groups, campaigns, and devices is invaluable when making marketing decisions to reach your business goals.

Which URL Tracking parameters are available

Google has the following ValueTrack variables available for use.

Networks

The network parameter is helpful if your campaigns don’t have a distinct naming structure that helps identify whether or not it’s display or search. Many Google AdWords specialists start their campaign names with “S” (or something similar) for search and “Dsp” (or something similar) for their display campaigns.

To capture the network variable, you will include the following parameter:

{ifsearch:[value]}{ifcontent:[value]}

Replace [value], with your desired variable, for example:

{ifsearch:[search]}{ifcontent:[display]}

Example of a network variable URL tracking template:

{lpurl}?network=search

Because only one of these parameters will be triggered by your ad, only one (search or display) will appear in the final URL.

Keywords and match types

When using the keywords and match types variables, your goal is to see which keywords and match types triggered your ad and resulted in a click or conversion.

You will use the {keyword} variable in your tracking template. If you want to add the match type variable, you will include {matchtype} in your tracking template.

In search campaigns the {keyword} variable will give you the specific keyword that resulted in a click. And in display campaigns the {keyword} variable will give you the best matching keyword.

Example of a keyword and match type tracking template:

{lpurl}?keyword={keyword}&matchtype={matchtype}

URL Example:

http://www.example.com/?keyword=pink%20socks&matchtype=p

Google’s parameter codes for the match types are “b” for broad or modified broad, “p” for phrase, or “e” for exact match.

Ads

If your goal is to see which ads resulted in converting the highest value customers you will include the {creative} ValueTrack parameter.

Example of tracking template:

{lpurl}?creative={creative}

Example data

http://www.example.com/?creative=599041118

Keep in mind that Google will only send the Ad ID within the URL. To view the specific ad, you’ll need to modify your coulomb view in AdWords and add the Ad ID from the Attributes tab.

Placements

The placement variable is useful when you want to target high ROI placements on the Display Network.

Google will only include whichever placements you’ve selected for your display campaign and not the full URL.

Example of tracking template

{lpurl}?placement={placement}

Example URL

http://www.example.com/placement=gmail.com

Devices

Though mobile is growing throughout the world as the number one platform on which searches and purchases are being completed, you might want to know whether or not your most valuable clients are coming from mobile devices.

To include device data to your URL, you will include the {device} ValueTrack parameter.

URL Template:

{lpurl}?device={device}

Data output:

http://www.example.com/?device=m

Google will replace {device} with “m” if your traffic is generated from mobile devices, “t” if from tables and “c” when from computers.

Custom parameters

To include custom parameters in your URL’s, such as ad groups, you will need to create the custom variable {_adgroup} and manually add it to the various ad groups within your campaigns. You can do this through the AdWords interface or through AdWords Editor.

Building your URL template

Before you create your first URL, you need to determine what data will be invaluable to make business goal driven decisions on your marketing efforts. A good place to start would be to look at your account structure.

Your campaign may be split to target specific areas, with the same ad groups and keywords. This usually occurs when your customer has different branches. Or, your client has set aside different budgets for specific products or services based on their ROI. Whatever the case may be, your URL tracking template will reflect the structure of your AdWords account.

Start your URL template with {lpurl}. This is a variable that will dynamically add your landing page’s URL. This is extremely important if you have different landing pages to use this variable.

Example URL

{lpurl}?geo={_geo}&campaign={_campaign}&adgroug={_adgroup}&keyword={keyword}&ad={creative}&netork={ifsearch:[value]}{ifcontent:[value]}