Commentary

Now What? Google's Parallel Tracking Deadline is Here

Announced more than a year ago, Google’s Oct. 30 deadline for parallel tracking is finally here — and if you are running paid advertising campaigns on Google Ads, the benefits are clear.

Research shows that 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load, and parallel tracking will speed up landing page load times — by up to five seconds — for users coming from your Google Ads.

But what are the real implications for marketers, and is the industry ready? Let’s explore what you can expect as a result of this rollout. 

  • Increased speed: Users who click on Google Ads will now experience quicker landing page load times, by up to five seconds. This means traffic coming from Google Ads will make it to the advertiser’s landing pages faster, increasing the number of users that engage with your website content as an advertiser. This speed improvement will lead to higher conversion rates and improved performance of Google Ads.
  • AMP usage: Along the same lines, parallel tracking allows advertisers to leverage AMP (accelerated mobile pages), which in turn, enables customers to interact with an advertiser’s site more quickly due to faster mobile page load times. With average load times clocking in at under one second, AMP load times are 85% faster than standard mobile pages and use 10 times less data than non-AMP pages.
  • Strengthened privacy and transparency: Parallel tracking will strengthen user privacy and offers a more transparent user experience when clicking on Google Ads. Because parallel tracking takes users from a Google ad directly to an advertiser’s website, it removes the potential for a user’s browser to hop through different ad tracking servers before arriving to the destination. Parallel tracking is innately more secure because it requires all ad trackers to use HTTPS protocol, and it’s more stable because it removes the ability for ad tracking servers to augment the experience before landing on the advertiser’s website.
  • Simplified ad tracking: With parallel tracking, ad tracking that uses redirects will now be separated from landing page tracking in Google Ads’ system. It will no longer be combined into one template, which historically complicates tracking.

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Some advertisers don’t need to do anything to prepare for this change because they do not use ad trackers that involve a hop between Google and their brand’s website. Therefore, all changes will happen on Google’s side and they will simply enjoy faster page load times automatically.

However, many advertisers that do use ad trackers that “hop” or “redirect” have more to do, including confirming that ad tracking is using HTTPS, reviewing URL encoding, and ensuring the ad tracking will continue to track all users post-migration.

Parallel tracking is a mandatory update, so if campaigns are not adjusted by the Oct. 30deadline, advertisers will experience failures in ad tracking and disruptions in their ability to measure campaign performance. 

We all know that’s not an acceptable outcome for this industry — so don’t wait any longer.

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