What is Google Ads Parallel Tracking?
Google Ads parallel tracking is a feature that Google Ads has rolled out, speeding up site load time by removing the Google Ad Services redirect that currently occurs when a user clicks an ad. Instead, parallel tracking loads the ad tracker URL in the background, which allows the page to load faster since the user is navigating directly to the final URL, rather than hitting the redirect server first. This gain in page speed may require some additional setup and migration in order for parallel tracking to work if you use third-party click trackers or a search management platform like Search Ads 360. These required changes are detailed in the following section. Currently, parallel tracking is an optional feature, but will be a requirement starting on Oct. 30, 2018.
How Do I Prepare for Parallel Tracking?
If you are NOT using a search management platform like Search Ads 360 or a third-party click measurement provider, then setting up parallel tracking is straightforward and simply consists of setting the flag in your account settings. Once it’s set, you’ll need to click the “Test” button next to the tracking template and see if any errors are displayed. If you’re using a third-party click tracker, you’ll need to refer to the vendor for recommendations on how to migrate that particular click tracker. If you’re using a search management platform, there’re additional checks that need to be made before enabling parallel tracking and features that are not yet migration-ready.
Search Ads 360 Compatibility with Parallel Tracking
Search Ads 360 is in the process of migrating all features to be compatible with parallel tracking, but not all features are available — at the time of this article, at least. There’s a compatibility checker that can be run from within the Google Ads “account details” view in SA360 to see if the account is compatible with parallel tracking. If it isn’t, you’ll see a warning like the one below. Some of the common items that aren’t yet compatible are custom URL tracking templates, Google Analytics integration, conversion API integration and SA360 macros.
According to the Google Support doc about parallel tracking compatibility issues, “Search Ads 360 will update most features to be compatible with parallel tracking. If you currently use features that aren’t supported yet, the recommendation is to wait until Search Ads 360 is fully compatible before using parallel tracking.” For additional detail, including the list of incompatible features, take a look at the full support document.