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:

https://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:

https://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:

https://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

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

while a desktop user would go to

https://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 https://www.ppc-epiphany.com/desktop-landing-page/. However, there’s a nice little workaround. Just do it like this:

https://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 https://www.ppc-epiphany.com/desktop-landing-page/. But mobile users get this one:

https://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 Martin Roettgerding
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.