Tracking Templates Impacting Destination Mismatch Disapprovals
TLDR: If you are utilizing a tracking template at the ad level, in order to avoid ad disapproval, ensure the URL you’ve entered in the “Final URL” field does not include the extra tracking parameters tacked on at the end of the landing page URL. These extra tracking parameters are typically found after a “?” in the URL.
One of the more common ad disapproval instances I’ve come across in my experience setting up AdWords campaigns, is the “Destination Mismatch” error. If you’ve encountered this disapproval, first, ensure that all of your URL settings in your ad are indeed leading to the same domain and that you are abiding by the guidelines found here.
In this post, I would like to focus on a specific instance in which utilizing an ad level tracking template (also referred to as a Click Tracker) can prompt “Destination Mismatch” disapprovals if not set up properly.
Common practice for implementing a Final URL in an ad with a tracking template is as follows:
- You enter your tracking template into an internet browser and hit enter
- This tracking template then redirects to a landing page
- This landing page is then copy & pasted into the Final URL field within the ad
In most cases, this practice should work. We can assume that since our Final URL is derived directly from the tracking template, our Final URL is accurate and will match up with the tracking template.
However, some types of tracking templates are setup to generate unique landing page URLs for each user.
Example: User 1 enters their tracking template into their browser & is re-directed to example.com/test?123. User 2 enters the same tracking template on a different computer and is re-directed to example.com/test?395.
So if User1 entered example.com/test?123 as the “Final URL” in the ad, a “Destination Mismatch” disapproval would be prompted since the tracking template is generating various versions of the URLs that do not exactly match the “Final URL” entered.
This leads to a confusing scenario, because when you double check the landing page of the tracking template & the Final URL, they appear to be the exact same URL. However, if a different user were to click on the ad, they would actually be directed to a slightly different URL.
Solution: When entering a URL in the Final URL field, ensure you remove the extra tracking parameters generated by the tracking template. These extra tracking parameters are typically found after a “?” in the URL.
Example: User 1 enters the tracking template into their browser & is re-directed to example.com/test?123. User 1 should proceed to enter the Final URL as example.com/test. Note how the extra tracking parameters ?123 have been removed.
Common Question: “If I remove the extra tracking parameters in the Final URL field, will my ad click through to the desired tracking template landing page? I want to ensure customers will be directed to the landing page generated by the tracking template when they click.”
Answer: As long as a tracking template is present, your ad will always click through to the landing page generated by the tracking template even if the “Final URL” does not have these tracking parameters included. Understand that tracking template always trumps Final URL in terms of where the ad clicks through to. When a user clicks your ad, they will always be directed to the landing page generated from the tracking Template.
For additional resources on tracking templates and tracking options in AdWords, see here.
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