Tracking templates in Google Ads

Posted by: Tom / 

February 22nd 2019 / 

Category: 

Tutorials

The tracking template

When setting up a new Google Ads campaign, we should always use a tracking template. Each part of the template pulls data into Google Analytics so we can monitor how everything is performing individually. From the ads, to the individual keywords, it's important to collect this data so you can optimise your campaign more efficiently.

Here is an example template you can use if you wish, read through the following article to learn how to properly implement and edit to your requirement.

{lpurl}?utm_source=googleads?utm_medium=device-{device}_{ifsearch:search_network}{ifcontent:display_network}&utm_campaign={_campaign}&utm_source={_adgroup}&utm_content={_ad}&utm_sitelink={_sl}&utm_term={keyword}_{matchtype}

How to add tracking template in Google Ads

Generally, an account wide tracking template is good enough to track most campaigns. We can set the custom parameters where we need. To set up an account wide tracking template do the following steps:

  • Go to Google Ads
  • Go to settings
  • Go to account settings
  • Go to tracking template
  • Enter the above template like I have here: How to add a tracking template
  • Click test and you should get ticks like I have here: Test tracking set up

Add custom parameters so we can track

Custom parameters allow us to enter any information we wish to be shown in Analytics when we view our data. They allow us to easily distinguish between ads so we can monitor how each is performing, then cross-reference with keywords etc.

Modify columns

We need to modify columns to get custom parameter and tracking template. This will need to be done in campaign, ad group and ad views within Google Ads:

  • Go to columns then modify columns like this: Modify columns in Google Ads
  • Then tick custom parameter and tracking template like this: Tick custom parameter and tracking template
  • Save columns
Campaign custom parameters
  • Go to settings
  • Go to campaign settings
  • Modify columns if needed as above
  • Edit custom parameter like this: Edit custom parameter in Google Ads
  • Make sure to use campaign in the first box. This relates to where I mentioned &utm_campaign={_campaign} above
  • In the second box, type whatever parameter you want to show. Can be the campaign name, or something else to help distinguish between campaigns when you are viewing Analytics.

Ad group custom parameters

  • Go to ad groups
  • Modify columns if needed as above
  • Edit custom parameter like shown in campaign
  • Make sure to use adgroup in the first box. This relates to where I mentioned &utm_source={_adgroup} above
  • In the second box, type whatever parameter you want to show. Can be the ad group name, or something else to help distinguish between ad groups when you are viewing Analytics.

Ad custom parameters

  • Go to ads
  • Edit ad
  • See following image, you can add custom parameter in here: Add custom parameter for ads
  • Make sure to use ad in the first box. This relates to where I mentioned &utm_content={_ad} above
  • In the second box, type whatever parameter you want to show. Can be the ad name, or something else to help distinguish between ads when you are viewing Analytics.

Sitelink parameters

  • Go to extensions
  • Edit sitelink
  • See above where I showed you how to edit custom parameters in ads. Do the same for sitelinks.
  • Make sure to use sl in the first box. This relates to where I mentioned &utm_sitelink={_sl} above
  • In the second box, type whatever parameter you want to show. Can be the sitelink name, or something else to help distinguish between sitelinks when you are viewing Analytics.
Example URL & what it means

An example URL from one of the tests above looks like this:

https://www.webandroll.co.uk/?utm_source=googleads_webdesign&utm_medium=device-c_search_network&utm_campaign=general&utm_content=im_web_design_development_home&utm_sitelink=&utm_term=_
As you can see from the above URL, it has taken the following data:

  • Source - googleads_webdesign which is where I wrote googleads followed by {_adgroup}
  • Medium - device-c_search_network which is where I wrote device- followed by {device}. c shows that I clicked from a computer. Also, within this data, you can also see search_network which is from {ifsearch:search_network}. {ifcontent:display_network} is ignored because this is not a display campaign.
  • Campaign - general - Taken from custom parameter on campaign
  • Content - im_web_design_development_home - Taken from custom parameter on ads
  • Sitelink - No value shown above because this example is not a click from a sitelink. Add custom parameters on sitelinks in extensions
  • Term - No value shown above because this example is not an actual search. If a searcher types “web design Sheffield” into their search, then clicks on our ad, “web design Sheffield” will show here.
What does each part of it mean, and how to change options?
  • Landing page URL -
    {lpurl}
  • Source - Where they came from. Here, you can see I have added google_ads to show in Analytics that they have come from here, then also you will see {_adgroup} which basically prints which ad group they came from:
    ?utm_source=googleads_{_adgroup}
  • Medium - device-{device} shows device- followed by the device they used. You will see c for computers, t for tablets, and m for mobiles in Google Analytics. {ifsearch:search_network} prints search_network if they came via the search network. {ifcontent:display_network} prints display_network if they came via the display network:
    &utm_medium=device-{device}_{ifsearch:search_network}{ifcontent:display_network}
  • Campaign - Prints the campaign name into Analytics
    &utm_campaign={_campaign}
  • Content - Prints the ad content we specify in the custom parameter
    &utm_content={_ad}
  • Sitelink - Prints out the sitelink content we specify in the custom parameter
    &utm_sitelink={_sl}
  • Term - This prints out the keyword followed by the matchtype which will be printed like e for exact match, b for broad match, and p for phrase match
    &utm_term={keyword}_{matchtype}

Done!

Now you are on the right track to using tracking templates on an account level. You should also be able to use custom parameters to distinguish between your ads and keywords. If you need any further help with setting a Google Ads campaign up, give our PPC team a call for more information.

About the author

I'm a web developer & online marketing specialist who tends to spend most days experimenting & keeping up to date with HTML, CSS, JS, PHP & various other work-related jargon. I lead the development team & like to constantly push boundaries within the business. Unfortunately, I support LUFC.