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AdWords URL Tracking Made Easy with Upgraded URLs

What is upgraded URL?

It’s an upgrade in the way Destination URL and URL tracking are managed in AdWords. With this upgrade, Destination URL field will be retiring and it will be replaced by Final URL field which will further be facilitated with dedicated fields for tracking information.


So, what’s the difference?

URL tracking is now easier and more efficient with Upgraded URLs. Now you have separate fields for landing page URL and tracking codes. The landing page URL will be called Final URL and there would be dedicated fields for tracking codes as shown in the image below -


upgraded url.png

(The above screenshot represents options at Ad Level)


Is it already available in the interface now?

Yes, it is already available in the AdWords interface now. However, you can still see and use destination URL field which will be retiring on July 1st  , 2015 and would be replaced with Final URL. The destination URL field will not be editable/usable after this date and Final URL (with Tracking Templates) will become the only option for ads.


What are Tracking Templates?

The tracking template is a combination of your tracking codes and landing page information. It is the final address your ads will land when someone clicks. Please note that a tracking template does not change your landing page URL, but it feeds the final address with your tracking information so that you can have better understanding of your campaigns’ analytics and performances.


It is called a template because you can use the same set of tracking at account level, campaign level, ad group level, ad level, or sitelink level, without needing to use them individually at all levels. However, there’s no confinement, you can use them individually as well. You can also use them at keyword level or auto target level.


How to create an Account Level Tracking Template?

From your Campaigns Tab, go to Shared Library and then click URL Options. 


How to create a Campaign Level Tracking Template?

Go Campaign Settings, scroll down to bottom, and Click 'Campaign URL Options (Advanced)' to expand options. 


How to create an Ad Group or Keyword Level Tracking Template?

Click the campaign name from the left navigation panel, go to AdGroups Tab > Columns > Customize Columns > Attributes > and add Tracking Template and Custom Parameter to the interface. Now click the cell in front of the adgroup/keywords and enter your codes. 


What happens if I have different Tracking Templates at two or more levels?

AdWords will use the template at the lowest level in hierarchy. For instance, if you have both account level and campaign level templates, AdWords will use Campaign Level in this case.


What all can be used in the Tracking information?

You can use ValueTrack parameters or Custom Parameters or a combination of both.


What are ValueTrack Parameters?

With the help of ValueTrack you can append tracking values to the ad's landing page URLs. Here’s a list of readily available ValueTrack Parameters.


What are Custom parameters?

Any parameter other than standard ones that you pass through your URL to track certain information is a custom parameter. Custom parameters need to begin with an underscore and should be enclosed in curly brackets. An example can be - {_mykwid}.


I have different landing pages in my different campaigns, can I use Account Level Tracking template?

Yes, you can. You may use a campaign or account level tracking template similar to the following -  




This template will tell AdWords to use the same URL structure throughout the account or campaign whatever the case may be but the actual landing page would still be the one you would use with your ads. The {lpurl} in the above sample code would be filled in with your actual landing page URL (Final URL).


Note: Make sure you are using Final URL instead of Destination URL, to be able to use the tracking templates.


I don’t use any tracking with my destination URLs, will this upgrade affect me?

No, it won’t if your Display URL and the Landing Page URL are the same. All your destination URLs would automatically be upgraded to Final URLs after July 1, 2015.


I use tracking with my URLs but what if I don’t upgrade to Final URLs?

Well, as long as the Display URL and the Destination URL are for the same domain, you would automatically be upgraded after the above mentioned date. Though, if they are different URLs, you should upgrade manually.


How to upgrade manually to Upgraded URLs?

You can find detailed documentation here.


Will my campaigns have any effect if I upgrade manually?

There won’t be any effect on the performance in general, but yes, the historic data would be reset for the ads and they would go for the review as it happens with any new ad.


I am confused. Should I upgrade or not?

Well, if you do not use any tracking with your destination URLs, you can do without the upgrade. However, if you do use tracking, it’s advisable to upgrade manually. Why? Because, the process of tracking would become much more efficient and easier with upgraded URLs and you would be ensured that your tracking remains intact even in the upgrade.


Have more questions? Well, it assures me that you are going to give Upgraded URLs a try, or you have done that already. Follow this detailed thread and ask your questions. Don't worry, you do not necessarily need to sound technical, all questions are welcome. Smiley Happy 


Ratan Jha


about Ratan Jha

A digital marketing strategist and consultant with 9+ years of experience. I help businesses make their marketing strategies more rewarding. Co-Founder - Splashsys Webtech. Winner of DigiGurus - a competition among Indian Google Partners.

Frank S
April 2015

Hi Ratan,


Thanks for spreading knowledge!


I have read your wholepost and I continuously follow your thread in the community and I have a query related to url tracking and my concern is what are the benefits of url tracking and where to use and how to track these urls while I already enable auto tagging in my adword account and I can easily check and analyze all the data of my campaigns in google analytics and also let me know which one is better for analyzing campaign performance.


So, could you please help me on this topic because I am a new guy in the adword and I don’t have too much knowledge about the adwords?

Ratan-Jha Top Contributor
April 2015 - last edited April 2015

Hi Frank,


Thanks for the appreciation.


To your question, there won't be any effect of Upgraded URL on your account or campaigns if you are using Auto Tagging. It will not affect your data which are being populated in your Analytics or AdWords accounts.


But, if you use Upgraded URLs, you can get much more insights about your campaigns' performance. With Upgraded URLs, you can get deeper insights by using ValueTrack and Custom parameters. Auto Tagging gives you limited data, but if you use tracking with URLs, you will have more information.


However, it depends on the need, if you think Auto Tagging data is enough for you, there's no need to use tracking.


How to start using URL Tracking? Follow the links in the post above.


All the best!


Ratan Jha

Bhavesh D
May 2015

Hi Ratan,


Can we use UTM parameters and new Value Track parameters simultaneously in the tracking template if we use upgraded url's?





Ratan-Jha Top Contributor
May 2015

Hi Bhavesh, 


Yes, you can. There's no problem at all. 


Ratan Jha

Scott C
June 2015

HI There, I use the ?cmpid= parameter on my destination urls and I have millions of different destination urls. Could you please explain (and dumb it down) the best way to upgrade my urls without hassel - I am a bit confused ;-) 



Ratan-Jha Top Contributor
June 2015

Hi Scott, 


Can you share your complete destination url structure which you are using at the moment? Also, are you using any third party tracking as well?


Ratan Jha

Scott C
June 2015

Hi Ratan,


I use a different URL per keyword as we direct to tags pages. I track our SEM traffic with a CMPID parameter for example: http://www.fixya.com/f/landing/tagspage/fixya?cmpid=20140727


this helps us identify that it is SEM traffic and the date that they keyword was uploaded.


Hope it helps


Thanks again.

Ratan-Jha Top Contributor
June 2015

Hi Scott,


In that case, I would use  http://www.fixya.com/f/landing/tagspage/fixya as the Final URL at the ad level and {lpurl}?cmpid=20150622 as the tracking template at the keyword level. 


To make it even easier, I would use Custom Parameter something the below -


Custom Parameter = campid


In this case at the ad level - 

Final URL = http://www.fixya.com/f/landing/tagspage/fixya

Tracking Template = {lpurl}?cmpid={_campid}

Customer Parameter = campid, value = 20150622


Now at individual keyword level, I will only change custom parameter  and would leave everything blank. Something like - 

Custom Parameter = campid, value = 20150624


Hence, the landing page url would be http://www.fixya.com/f/landing/tagspage/fixya?campid=20150624


It means the custom parameter would be picked from Keyword Level. And you would be changing only the custom parameter at individual keyword. 


Any confusion?


Ratan Jha



July 2015

Hi Ratan

Great post.

I am currently using Auto Tagging and Google Analytics.
Could you show me some examples of extra data and insights you could get by using this method?


Ratan-Jha Top Contributor
July 2015

Hi Hakon,


Thanks for the appreciation. 


To your question, Auto Tagging does not give you an in-depth tracking information for your campaigns. Going with Upgraded URL and using Manual Tagging with ValueTrack parameters, you can have detailed performance tracking. 


More about ValueTrack can be read here. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2375447?hl=en


Scroll down the page to find a list of available ValueTrack parameters which you can use with Shared Tracking Templates in your AdWords account. Also, if there's any specific information that is not available with ValueTrack but you want to track, you can use Custom Parameters in Manual Tagging. 


Ratan Jha