Parallel Tracking: What It Is And Why It Matters

By Tinuiti Team

Last year, Google announced Parallel Tracking, an optional feature in Google Ads that streamlined URL tracking and improved landing page load times.

On October 30, 2018 Parallel Tracking will sunset as an optional feature, and all Google Ad accounts will be required to use the new tracking method.

While not an Earth-shattering update, if you’re not currently using Parallel Tracking, it can impact your Google Ads. Here’s what you need to know and how to prepare for the change on October 30.

What is Parallel Tracking?

When a customer clicks your ad, Parallel Tracking allows click measurement to happen in the background, eliminating the need to redirect the customer to a tracking URL prior to the landing page.

Without Parallel Tracking, the customer journey from ad click to landing page can look like this: 

Interested user clicks on your advertisement > Google click tracker loads > Google URL tracking loads > Possible redirects for new URL tracking > User eventually arrives on your landing page

Parallel Tracking takes a long, linear process and turns it into this:

parallel tracking

Why is the switch to Parallel Tracking required?

Although the numerous redirects of the old tracking method are completely invisible to users, they still negatively impact the user experience by slowing down landing page load speed.

While a second may seem like an insignificant amount of time, it can actually have a dismal impact on conversion rates. According to Google:data page load time bounce rateGoogle is all about a better experience for customers AND advertisers, and Parallel Tracking is a win-win for both. Faster response means a better user experience, fewer lost opportunities and lower costs of advertising.

Making a seamless move to Parallel Tracking

Here are two important things to consider for a seamless integration.

1. Ensure Your Tracking Template is Compatible: This is an absolute must if you use a third-party URL template provider or rely upon dynamic landing page redirects. Make sure that your provider’s template is compatible with parallel tracking or it won’t work when Google makes the switch.

2. Add Final URL Tag to a Secure Tracking Template: Minimize duplicate counts on visits by adding your final URL tag on your template, and make sure your template is secure. Ask for verification from any third-party URL template provider.

How To Enable Parallel Tracking

Once implemented, Parallel Tracking may lead to an improvement in bounce rates, time on page and conversion rates as customers are instantly directed to your landing page. Track each of these variables during the next few months and monitor the impact on your campaign performance.

If faster site speeds seem to be improving your conversions, keep the momentum going. Check out our blog post How To Prepare For The Speed Update for more ways you can optimize your site for faster load times.

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