Everything You Should Know About AdWords Final URLs

Everything You Should Know About AdWords Final URLs

Last updated on by Stephanie Mialki in AdWords Advertising

In AdWords paid search campaigns, two URLs require careful consideration: the AdWords display URL and the AdWords final URL.

With a display URL, advertisers can show an easy-to-read URL that gives prospects a clear idea of where they’ll arrive once they click the ad. But with a final URL, you can define a more specific URL with rich tracking information:

AdWords final URL field

Today’s article will take a closer look at AdWords final URLs.

What is a final URL in AdWords?

Final URLs are just one component of two-part landing page URLs, also consisting of a tracking template (for most advertisers, though, the landing page URL is the same as the final URL).

A final URL (required to create an AdWords ad) is the website address people reach when they click your ad. This type of URL is not visible on the ad, but the display URL is:

AdWords final URL example

A tracking template, on the other hand, is optional. When a search user clicks your ad, the tracking template is used to create your complete landing page URL (more on this below).

AdWords final URL mismatch, redirects, and tracking

“Do I need a final URL?” Yes, and the domain must match your display URL domain. Redirects within the same domain are allowed, but cross-domain redirects are not, and your ad can get disapproved by doing so. This is Google’s policy to ensure display URLs give searchers a clear, useful idea of what page they’ll land on after clicking an ad, providing them with a better user experience.

So if a display URL reads www.mylandingpage.com, then the final URL can be as detailed as www.mylandingpage.com/abcde12345, as long as the domains match. Yet a cross-domain redirect such as www.differentlandingpage.com/abcde12345 would be disapproved.

Using parameters (like “source=google” and “ad={creative}”) is another option, as these allow advertisers to track and record certain details about their ad once someone clicks it.

However, AdWords’ upgraded URLs give advertisers increased control and specificity over how they define their final URL, and even their tracking management. In addition, it’s no longer necessary to include tracking parameters in the “Final URL” field because this information is now entered into the “Tracking template” field instead:

AdWords final URL tracking template

Note: Although you may enter a simple, “clean” final URL into the “Final URL” field, the tracking code from the “Tracking template” field will automatically be added to the end of the URL when clicked. This means that your URL will no longer look clean and straightforward when users arrive at your destination page.

To demonstrate, here is an Instapage AdWords ad for “landing page platforms” with the display URL: www.instapage.com.

AdWords final URL ad example

Once clicked, search users see that the final URL is: https://instapage.com/landing-pages.

However, the tracking code makes it appear much longer like this:

AdWords final URL landing page

How to insert keywords

To create the optimal post-click experience for prospects, AdWords encourages advertisers to customize their final URLs for keywords. Customized keyword landing page URLs take people to landing pages that are highly-related to certain keywords.

Follow these steps to create customized keyword landing page URLs:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account
  2. In the page menu, click “Keywords”
  3. Scroll over the “Final URL” column of the keyword you want to specify a landing page for (add the column if necessary), and click the pencil icon
  4. Enter the URL (up to 2,048 characters)
  5. Click “Save”

For Google Analytics to provide details about your AdWords keywords and costs, you must either enable auto-tagging or manually tag all of your keyword final URLs with tracking parameters:

AdWords final URL keywords

Auto-tagging (Google recommended) automatically imports AdWords data into Analytics. Combining this data with the rich post-click Analytics data allows you to see how people engaged with your site or landing page after clicking your ads, ensuring you get the most detailed insights.

Conversely, manually tagging all of your keywords is only recommended in certain cases, such as if your website doesn’t allow arbitrary URL parameters, or if you need to use auto-tagging for non-Analytics purposes.

How to change a final URL in AdWords

The AdWords Editor allows you to edit your final URL either one at a time or in bulk.

To change a URL in an ad group, the advanced URL changes tool is required. This tool enables advertisers to change final URLs, final mobile URLs, and tracking templates, all in bulk. Specifically, it allows you to:

To edit ads in bulk, follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account
  2. In the page menu, click “Ads & extensions”
  3. Check the box next to all of the ads you want to edit (you can also select all ads at once by clicking the box in the menu)
  4. Click “Edit”, and then select “Change text ads”
  5. Make your changes, and then click “Preview” to see what your ad edits will look like, or click “Apply” to finalize all edits

Two more points need discussing here:

First, when adding a final URL to an existing ad, you must post the URL before posting the rest of the changes. If you post the updated ad without adding the URLs first, all stats and history associated with that ad will be lost, because editing an ad is ultimately the same as creating a new ad and completely removing the old version.

Second, instead of editing your ad, you should consider A/B testing new ads to determine how well different versions of your ad perform against one another. Doing this allows your original ad to stay running while the new versions start to perform.

Are final mobile URLs different from final desktop URLs?

Yes, final mobile URLs are different from final desktop URLs. The most well-known way to specify a mobile landing page is to use {device} and {ifmobile} ValueTrack parameters.

Another option, though, is to enter a separate, mobile-preferred URL, called a “final mobile URL.” In fact, even if your final URL contains {ifmobile} parameters, AdWords still uses the final mobile URL for mobile devices. If, for some reason, the final mobile URL is invalid, the final URL is used instead. AdWords allows final mobile URLs for ads, sitelinks, keywords, and app extensions.

AdWords final URL report

To thoroughly understand their performance, AdWords provides a final URL report that functions as a landing page report exclusively for AdWords traffic. This report shows any URLs to which you’ve directed prospects from AdWords, allowing you to see which landing pages generate the most engagement and highest conversion rates.

The report includes all statistics aggregated at the final URL level. There is one row per final URL, and if other segment fields are used, there is more than one row per final URL. It’s important to note that the report doesn’t show any metrics for ad extensions.

Optimize the post-click experience

While display URLs are non-functioning, they serve an important decorative purpose for AdWords ads. A final URL on the other hand, is much more than just a visual component, as it dictates where a person is directed when they click your ad.

Since final URLs are the pages where you’re sending paid traffic, it’s critical that you create optimized landing pages to improve the user experience and chance for conversions.

At Instapage, our post-click optimization platform allows marketers to build personalized, high-converting, 100% customizable landing pages faster and easier than ever. With a designer-friendly builder, team collaboration, advanced A/B testing, and Instablocks™, no other platform compares.

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