Using Mobile Keyword URL’s in Enhanced Campaigns

Some advertisers use keyword level destination URL’s for tracking and other purposes. And some advertisers need different destination URL’s for mobile and desktop. With Enhanced Campaigns advertisers who need both now face a problem: You can have either device-specific destination URL’s at the ad level, or keyword level URL’s with no regard for device. Fortunately, there are a few workarounds.

The basis for the following workarounds is ValueTrack with its tags that are build into AdWords. With ValueTrack, you can insert tags into your destination URL’s. Then, when a URL is used in an ad, those tags are replaced with the appropriate parameters. There’s a long list of tags and possibilities, and some of them can solve this problem.

Solution #1: Substitute keyword level URL’s

Keyword level destination URL’s are sometimes used for tracking purposes, but don’t actually point to a different page than the ad. If that’s the case, you could just use the tags {keyword} and {matchtype} to identify your keywords through the ad URL:

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/?adgroup=idk&keyword={keyword}&matchtype={matchtype}

This solution isn’t very elegant as everyone, including competitors, can see those parameters. However, it would solve the problem as you wouldn’t need keyword level URL’s any longer.

Solution #2: Internal redirect

A more elegant solution would be to use the {device} tag. Depending on the device type this tag is replace with either “m” for mobile, “c” for computers, or “t” for tablets. So your keyword destination URL’s could look like this:

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/redirect.php?tracking=sometracking&device={device}

The script (redirect.php) would then look at the device parameter and redirect visitors accordingly. There are different ways to handle this on the server side, of course.

Currently, this is the only way to separately account for tablets as well. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google removed the “t” for tablets somewhere down the road.

Solution #3: Keep using mobile keyword level URL’s

The third solution looks a little unclean, but it’s easy to do and it basically gives you back your mobile keyword level URL’s. There is a potential downside here: In this case, mobile includes tablets.

By using ValueTrack’s {ifmobile} tag you can insert anything into the URL if the click comes from a mobile device. The tag is used like this: {ifmobile:value}, with the “value” part being used if the click comes from a mobile device. So you could use a destination URL like this:

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/{ifmobile:mobile-landing-page/}

The tag inserts the part after the colon into the URL, if the clicks comes from a mobile device. So a mobile user would go to

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/mobile-landing-page/

while a desktop user would go to

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/

Now there’s a little problem here: There’s no “else” part, meaning there’s no way to tell Google to send desktop users to a page like http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/desktop-landing-page/. However, there’s a nice little workaround. Just do it like this:

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/{ifmobile:mobile-landing-page/#}desktop-landing-page/

Now for desktop users, the part in brackets is omitted, so they’ll get http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/desktop-landing-page/. But mobile users get this one:

http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/mobile-landing-page/#desktop-landing-page/

The hashmark (#) at the end of the actual mobile path makes everything that follows irrelevant for the web server. The URL above would just point the nonexistent anchor “desktop-landing-page/” within the mobile landing page. So the user would get to the correct mobile landing page – and that’s it!

Of course, this works for longer and more complex URL’s as well. If you consider using this, just play it through and test if everything is working correctly before rolling it out. The example URL’s here don’t work (I don’t have any landing pages on this blog), but just use any two URL’s from any website you like to try out that last example. I’ve tried this with AdWords and some actual URL’s and it worked perfectly.

I’d still check with the webmaster to make sure there are no side effects, but this should essentially give you the ability to use keyword level URL’s that work for mobile, too.

So I hope this helps some people to work around the problem. If it does, or if you run into unforseen problems, let me know in the comments.

About the Author

Martin Roettgerding is the head of SEM at SEO/SEM agency Bloofusion Germany. On Twitter he goes by the name @bloomarty, and you can find him regularly on #ppcchat.

6 thoughts on “Using Mobile Keyword URL’s in Enhanced Campaigns

  1. Hi Martin,
    thanks again for great posting.
    I am running two mobile download campaigns in the Google Search Network.
    1. IOS campaign -Trackinglink a
    2. Android -campaign – Trackinglink b
    This way won’t work after the rollout of the enhanced campaigns.
    My problem is that the different trackinglinks for the devices has to be changed in one URL in the enhanced campaigns. The links target in each Appstore.

    After the campaign update I can’t run campaigns in that way.
    Do you have any solution for this or should it works with your great suggestions?
    I haven’t any experience with the value track…

    Best

    Thomas

  2. Hi Thomas,
    I believe this should still work with enhanced campaigns. With two ads referring to app stores, only Android users should see the ad linking to Google Play and vice versa.

    I can’t find a good source on the Google help pages, but several articles about enhanced campaigns mention this. This one, for example: http://searchengineland.com/the-big-adwords-update-enhanced-campaigns-puts-the-focus-on-mobile-147626 (third paragraph from the bottom).

    I’d recommend to check with AdWords support, but you probably won’t have to change anything :)

  3. Hi Martin,

    thanks for your feedback.
    He said: “One exception to this is click-to-download ads where an advertiser would only want to show an app download ad on a device that could actually download the app (obviously). The advertiser would tell us which app they want to promote and then we’ll make sure to only show it on the devices that can download it.” Again, the advertiser loses control of the targeting and has to rely on/trust Google to do it for them.
    –> That means I can create two Ads (click to download Ad) and take in each Ad the Appstore and the Google Play store Trackinglink. And I have to trust Google to target the correct device.
    Thats good.
    The next Problem advertiser will have ( me also) is the fact that you Aren’t able to set different budgets for each device. Android has a much bigger market with less CVR than IOS. I hope they’ll work on a feature to solve this problem.

    Thanks Martin!

  4. Hi,

    I am running into issues when I use ifmobile with a tracking code. Is there something else to keep in mind while appending tracking code to the syntax for ifmobile?

    Thanks so much!
    Apoorva

  5. Hi Apoorva,

    As far as I know this should be straightforward. If you can share an example I’ll have a look.

  6. I run my display campaigns on conversion optimizer and am having a tough time splitting the mobile and desktop because I’ve lost control of my bidding.

    I use the method of lower bids in mobile adgroups with a higher multiplier so my bids are still competitive for mobile.

    Does http://www.ppc-epiphany.com/{ifmobile:mobile-landing-page/}
    work for display campaigns?

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