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{keyword} variable not always populating on destination url

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
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I am using dynamic URLs for my landing pages at the ad level on a regular adwords campaign.  For example, let's say the ad group is shoes, and I have two keywords:

 

[blue shoes]

[red shoes]

 

For the ad, I am using a landing page that looks like:

 

http://www.mysite.com/shoes.html?refer=Adwords&keyword={keyword}

 

According to all the documentation I have read, that syntax should cause Google to populate the landing page URL with the actual search term when someone clicks on an ad.  For example, the landing page will actually be:

 

http://www.mysite.com/shoes.html?refer=Adwords&keyword=blue+shoes

 

About 99% of the time, that is exactly what happens.  However, particularly when I have a new ad that just goes live, I will regularly see in my own tracking that the url comes across exactly as:

 

http://www.mysite.com/shoes.html?refer=Adwords&keyword={keyword}

 

 

So, the keyword variable does not get populated.  I know some of these are real clicks because I have conversions on them.  The problem is, I don't know which term was searched on so I can't adjust my bids appropriately.

 

Is there some logic or limits or other random reason why the keyword variable might not populate?  All of my keywords are on exact match for this ad group, if that matters.  And I've seen the exact same issue on two different client accounts, so it's not even limited to a single account or campaign.

 

Bill

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: {keyword} variable not always populating on destination url

Google Employee
# 2
Google Employee
Hey Bill. Thanks for this interesting question. I'm going to dig a little deeper into this.
Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Bill S
September 2015

Re: {keyword} variable not always populating on destination url

Google Employee
# 3
Google Employee
Hi Bill!

Thank you for the question. I've done some research here, and there are only a few instances when the value track parameters may not pass on info to your tracking platform:

1. If the click is coming from the Display network, value track won't pull in a keyword like it would for search. Is this happening on a search network only campaign?

2. Oftentimes on search partner sites, there are "highlighted" terms or topics. For example, a search partner recently was highlighting March Madness. If a user clicked on one of those highlighted terms without performing a search, that would count as a click but it wouldn't pass the keyword along.

If neither of these two scenarios is the case, then this is likely an issue with your tracking program saving or recognizing the data coming through. I can confirm that the URL is set up properly, it is not an issue with our system passing the data.

The last point I want to make is that you can always check your search terms report to see what exact searches led to conversions; where you can see what keywords were triggered by those search terms. You shouldn't need to look at the referrer URL in order to figure out what keywords are working well and which aren't, as that information is available in your AW account.