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Enhance user experience with AdWords parallel tracking3 min read

According to Mobile Statistics, the average person spends roughly 23 days a year on their smartphone device. With the rise in mobile usage, and with mobile advertising expected to represent 72% of all US digital ad spend by 2021, it’s clear to see that mobile is here to stay and has become more important than ever.

Late last year, Google AdWords announced their plans to roll out parallel tracking within their AdWords interface, in a bid to speed up web page loading time on mobile devices.

Although parallel tracking is currently optional, and only works for Search Network and Shopping campaigns, Google plans to make it the default tracking method for all accounts later this year, and it’s worth implementing as soon as possible.

How does tracking traditionally work within AdWords?

Without parallel tracking, when a customer clicks on an ad, all the tracking URLs are loaded prior to the user actually seeing the landing page. Depending on how many tracking URLs you’re using, this can take quite some time –  in fact, hundreds of milliseconds are lost! If you are as impatient as me, on a mobile device, that can feel like FOREVER!

How does parallel tracking work?

Parallel tracking loads the landing page straight away, whilst the browser processes all of the tracking URLs in the background, in essence speeding up the process and creating an enhanced user experience.

This helps reduce lost visits, which can happen if a customer clicks on your ad but never sees your landing page because they navigate away.

What should you consider before implementing parallel tracking?

If you’re using a third-party tracking company, ensure that the tracking template provided is compatible with Google’s parallel tracking.

For third-party URL parameters and dynamic landing page redirects that aren’t compatible with parallel tracking, this will cause the tracking or landing page to stop working, so be sure to triple check that it works!

Once you are certain that tracking template is compatible, you will then need to add a final URL tag to the tracking template, for example, {lpurl}.  A final URL tag will ensure you are not counting website visitors twice.

How to turn on parallel tracking

Parallel tracking should be rolled out fully within the new AdWords interface very soon. So it’s time to do your research and get up to speed.

Parallel tracking is only available in the new AdWords interface and can be located by:

  • Clicking on ‘All Campaigns’ from the navigation menu
  • Clicking on ‘Settings’
  • Selecting ‘Account Settings’
  • Clicking on ‘Tracking’
  • Pressing the button next to ‘Parallel Tracking’ to switch it on.

Parallel tracking offers significant improvements to page load times, so if you’re investing more into mobile in 2018, ensure your tracking template is compatible and give it a go!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on key metrics such as conversions, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how parallel tracking improves your campaign performance.

If you’d like to find out more about parallel tracking, or wish to speak to a member of the team – get in touch.