Back in February, Google announced the launch of mandatory upgraded URLs in its ad words scheme. I am ashamed to say I missed this at the time. I’m making up for that by making sure our charity clients didn’t miss it, too.
I’ll ‘fess up. I missed it. My excuse is that I am not hands on managing an adword account right now. I know about this now because a charity I volunteer with has recently started looking at using their Google Grant (all charities should look at this if they can – there’s not much in life for free, but this is a good one for non-profits!) and having experience of setting up accounts in the past, was asked to wade in and help.
Upgraded URL’s – what?
In basic bullets:
- Where you once added one bit of info – the URL you want the ad to link back to – you now need to add two
- The first is the landing page you want the ad to direct people to – all good, this is what you have so far.
- The second is the tracking information you want to gather – which can be at local or account level.
- Up til now, every time you wanted to track an add you had to add a piece of tracking code on the page you were directing people, allowing the cookies to collect the info for you
- Now, when you want to change info you track on your ads, you can do it via the ad not via clumsy manual changes
Why this is great news
Lots of people don’t use tracking in ads because of the hassle of trying to get the web master to add a tiny piece of code – or multiple tiny pieces of code – to a web page. The reasons I used to hear were varied – ranging from security, through to lack of time. In the main, with non-teccie people the reason was usually quite simple – they didn’t know how or where to add the tracking data, and for the sake of a tiny bit of info, didn’t want to screw up the whole site. That’s fair enough. I hate code and am more of a ‘clicks’ kinda gal, so feel that pain.
In ‘paid for’ content management systems (like Sitecore) the user interface often had helpful places to add the code so they were inserted in the right place. In ‘free’ systems (like WordPress) you could either gamble on getting it in the right place or use a plug in (some of which are better than others) to manage your ad extensions. Since more of us in charity-world use the free stuff, you can kind of see where this is going.
So the change is good because:
- its way easier to add the code to the ad and start to get more metrics on your ads, tracking keywords, landing pages and site behaviour as a result
- it tells you more about your visitors so you can build journeys and personalise their experiences
- it tells you how much of your ad-words money you might be wasting, allowing you to redirect it or manage your ads so your donated cash is spent more effectively
And just how do I do this?
Google as ever have made this nice and simple to do.
As well as the web page which explains using upgraded URLs, there’s a handy video too that shows you just how to do it.
There’s always a bit of bad news.
Well, yes. In this case if you haven’t already done it, it does mean you’ll need to go in and update your ads. But do it once and in one place for your ad, and with clicks rather than coding … so it’s not all bad news. Just something else for the list, that’s all.
If you haven’t started with Google Adwords yet to use your Google Grant, you may want to think about it. Look into what other charities are doing, and think about how – and who – will manage the account before you say yes though. It’s very easy to get into quite a muddle, and hard to undo!
You also have to stay on the ball about updates and developments, and as I confess at the start of this post, even though this stuff is part of my portfolio, I missed this. So make sure there’s time for training and reading round even after your original set up time, or you may miss money and time saving upgrades like this <hangs head in shame>