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Google Parallel Tracking: A Step-By-Step Setup Guide

Published: October 25, 2018

Author: Jack Pace

This is the second post in a two-part series on Google Parallel Tracking. Yesterday, we covered what it is, how it’ll impact you, and when Google’s switch to Parallel Tracking will go into effect. Today, I’m doing a technical deep-dive into getting set up so you’re prepared for the October 30th deadline.

A Quick Refresher

Parallel tracking sends customers directly from an ad to the final URL while tracking happens in the background. This is meant to help load landing pages faster.
Instead of a user clicking on an ad, being sent through one or many redirects, and then finally landing on the final URL, parallel tracking will send the user directly to the final URL and then fire the redirects through the sendBeacon function of newer browsers.

Getting Started

I’ve outlined the steps needed to set yourself up for success with parallel tracking. The first question you’ll need to answer is: Do you use a tracking redirect?

But First, Some Quick Background

Previously, Google Ads had used one field for tracking template information. This one field was where we entered in redirects and or final URL parameters. It was structured like below:


Flow A – Parallel Tracking Setup – with Redirects

If you are currently using redirects in your tracking template, follow the below steps to make sure that you are ready for Parallel Tracking.

Breaking It Down

First, we need to break this into two parts:

  1. Tracking template: the new location for the redirecting URL.
  2. Final URL suffix: the new location for the custom URL parameters that are to be added to the final url.

Setting It Up

Post-parallel tracking:
Your tracking urls are now split into two parts. For example:

Tracking Template

This will now only contain the Tracking Redirect URL:

Final URL suffix:

This will now house all the URL parameters that will need to be in place on the load of the landing page:

Summing It Up

All together, this should look like the screenshot below:

Flow B – Parallel Tracking Setup – without Redirects

If you are not currently using redirects but are using the tracking template for URL parameters, you will need to move your URL parameters to the Final URL Suffix field.
NOTE: If you are prepending the tracking template with {lpurl} or another final URL macro, you will need to remove that from the Final URL Suffix.




Best Practices

We highly recommend applying your tracking templates at the account level so that they are used by all lower levels (campaign, ad group, ad, keyword etc). As always, make sure you test!


Parallel Tracking is coming whether you’re ready or not starting October 30th, but if you’re set up properly, the results (as outlined by Google) should be reductions in lost visits, increased conversion rates, and improved ad performance. The steps outlined above should help you get prepared, but if you have any questions, leave us a comment below. We’re always happy to help!

About 3Q Decision Sciences:

Our Decision Sciences team helps you understand your audiences and determine where, how, and when to spend your budget. We provide an in-depth understanding of your customers and user interactions, layering on- and off-site data. We use multi-touch attribution, a DMP leveraging advanced 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-party data collection and integration, audience targeting and media-mix insight, and behavioral performance data, combined with best-in-class reporting and data visualization, to shape marketing strategies. Contact us today!

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