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Tracking Google Shopping Campaigns: Using AdWords Redirect and ValueTrack Parameters

4 MINUTE READ | September 14, 2016

Tracking Google Shopping Campaigns: Using AdWords Redirect and ValueTrack Parameters

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Garrett Milliken

Garrett Milliken has written this article. More details coming soon.

Tracking is an increasingly important piece of the digital advertising landscape, and there is an ever-growing number of ways to gather information on the clicks heading to a website. One of the most versatile ways is through Google’s ValueTrack Parameters. Below is one way to use these parameters in Google Shopping campaigns to obtain the most granular information about campaigns and the users visiting the site.

What are ValueTrack Parameters?

ValueTrack Parameters are strings of text inserted into a URL, wrapped with braces {}, that can provide detailed information about an ad and the user that clicked it. Google provides a set of parameters that can be used on any type of campaign, such as {campaigned} and {device}, but also a secondary set that can only be used in Shopping campaigns such as {adtype} and {productid}. Once an ad is clicked, these parameters dynamically populate with information that is passed back to an analytics platform such as Google Analytics.

What is the AdWords Redirect?

AdWords Redirect is a column that can be submitted in a Google Shopping product feed that overrides the traditional “link” and “mobile_link” columns. In most ways, it is identical to the “link” attribute so it must still direct to the specific product page correlating to the product that was advertised. The added value of using the AdWords Redirect over link and mobile link is that it allows the addition of the above tracking parameters.

Why and How to use ValueTrack in conjunction with AdWords Redirect

ValueTrack Parameters do not have to be used in the AdWords Redirect column, the traditional way to utilize these parameters would be in tracking templates inside AdWords. The parameters can be inserted into templates at many different levels, such as campaign, ad group, or product group. There are a few issues with this method that make using AdWords Redirect a cleaner solution. Complicating factors with templates, such as organizing and managing templates at multiple different levels, bulk updating product group templates across campaigns, and editing multiple templates to add or remove parameters, all make the AdWords Redirect a good second option.

With AdWords redirect, the parameters are applied at the item level in the product feed, rather than multiple different places within an account. In this way, the parameters can easily be updated and applied across all items easily. To apply parameters to URLs in the AdWords Redirect column, simply append a question mark to the end of each item’s URL followed by combination of available parameters. For readability’s sake, it is advisable to delimit each parameter with a symbol such as a dash or an underscore. It may also be helpful to enter some static text before each parameter to make values easier to find. This may create a URL that looks overly busy in the feed, but will result in cleaner values when viewing tracking in analytics software.

Some Useful Parameters

Some of the most useful parameters concern keeping track of what campaign the click came through, and finding out more information about the user. On the first, {campaignid} and {adgroupid} are useful in providing more tracking depth in the account, to show which campaigns and ad groups perform the best. For the second, {loc_physical_ms} and {targeted} can inform on what physical location the user clicked from and, if the account has audience remarketing lists set up, what audience the user was a member of. Using these parameters, the URL in AdWords Redirect would look something like this:

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When the URL is clicked, the bracketed information will be filled in with dynamic values that can be tracked in Google Analytics or similar software. And because the parameters have been applied to a URL in the product feed, they can easily be modified if necessary. To see a full list of available ValueTrack Parameters, visit the Google support article on the topic here.

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