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If you’re an admin on a Google Ads account, you should have recently received an email notice such as below:

Dear Google Ads Advertiser,
You are receiving this message because your Google Ads account (Customer ID: 999-999-9999) uses the tracking template field and will be impacted when we begin requiring parallel tracking in all accounts.
What’s changing?
Earlier this year, we introduced parallel tracking as an optional feature to improve your landing page speed by sending users directly to your website while all click measurement is processed in the background.
Starting October 30, 2018, parallel tracking will be required for all Google ads accounts, to ensure a better landing page experience for users. At that time, the account opt-in setting will be removed and parallel tracking will become the only click measurement method for Google Ads.
Next steps
Please work with your click measurement provider(s) to make sure that your account is ready for parallel tracking by October 30, 2018. Should you or your provider miss this deadline, it could potentially interrupt your click measurement reporting or cause landing page errors. If you are already using parallel tracking, you won’t need to do anything; you’re all set up.
For more information on parallel tracking, please refer to the Google Ads Help Center and contact your click measurement provider. If you have further questions, please reach out to your account team or contact us at any time.
The Google Ads team

Benefits of Parallel Tracking

Parallel tracking is intended to speed up the time from ad click to landing page, ostensibly to give better user experience and have fewer people abandon their clicks before actually landing on the intended page.

When a user clicks on an ad, two things will happen:

  1. user will be directed to the landing page for the ad
  2. a separate click tracking request will be sent in the background (in ‘parallel’ as it were)

More details are provided in Google’s documentation.

Where Parallel Tracking Applies

Parallel tracking is only needed when you use a click measurement system, so if you are entering your landing page URLs directly rather than measurement system URLs that will be redirected to your landing pages, click tracking redirects it is likely not an issue at all.

Marin, Kenshoo, and most other notable click measurement systems are fully compatible with parallel tracking.

As two requirements for your landing page URLs:

  • All redirects in the redirect chain must use or be compatible with the https protocol
  • All redirects must be server-side rather than JavaScript redirection in the browser

What You Need to Do

As the October 30 date approaches for full rollout of parallel tracking, your E-Nor advisors wanted to remind you of the steps you should take (if you have not already).

Two actions are recommended:

  • test your landing page URLs
  • if the test validates your landing page URLs successfully, you can activate parallel tracking

Pretty straightforward overall; you simply have to opt in for now and test the results per Google’s instructions to ensure that landing pages are working. However, they did caution to verify that third-party click trackers are compatible with the feature. This won’t pose a problem for Google stack products, but if you, as an advertiser, are using another vendor for clickthrough tracking/ad serving, they would want to verify this functionality for sure.

Third-Party Click Trackers

Especially if you are using a third-party click measurement platform, be sure to test that your landing pages (as specified to flow through the third-party platform) will remain functional with parallel tracking.
Controls in AdWords for testing and activating parallel tracking. (It’s recommended to test before activating.)

You can take the following steps for testing:

  1. Access the Tracking panel in the account settings as illustrated above.
  2. Click Test.
  3. Verify the status of your landing pages, as below.
If all your landing pages are found in the test, you’re ready to turn on parallel tracking.

Non-passing statuses, and recommended steps to rectify them, are listed in the Google Ads help docs.

Full Rollout October 30, 2018

If you have not activated parallel tracking by October 18, it will be activated automatically, so make sure to test your pages for parallel tracking before then.

Questions about Google Marketing Platform? Contact Cardinal Path.