Keep Calm And Upgrade Your AdWords URLs

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

You may be officially freaking out that the AdWords upgraded URL updates are force migrating in less than a week. If you didn’t know that, I’ll give you a moment to lose it.




Breathe into a paper bag, and get it together! I promise it’s not hard to upgrade, and there’s a strong chance you may not have to even lift a finger. So, to begin, let’s check to see if you do have to do anything. Check out this blog from AdWords to get the nitty-gritty details, but here are the basics


1) Do you not have any tracking or just use auto-tagging? Do you use website analytics with tracking parameters? Do you use your own redirect server within the same domain?


You can just let it auto-upgrade if you want! You’re all good.


2) Do you use a third party click tracker? Do you use a campaign management system? Do you redirect through another domain?


Sorry, but you’ve got some work to do. You’ll need to do a manual upgrade.


If you use cross-domain redirects, the “{copy}” ValueTrack parameter, tracking parameters using “{}” that are not an AdWords ValueTrack parameter, or a domain different from the one used in your ad’s display URL…you REALLY have to manually upgrade. AdWords will straight-up stop serving your ads if you don’t.


HOWEVER, you should all know by now that AdWords wants to make money and wants you to keep giving them yours. So, expect lots of emails and extra time if you happen to be one of the ones that will have ads stop serving. I would not rely on this failsafe, but just to ease your panic a bit if you’re in this category.


Now, let’s get to it…what do you need to do? There are three methods of upgrading:


1) Automated


Don’t do anything. You’re golden.


2) Basic


  1. Download an ad report.
  2. Separate the tracking elements from the landing page URLs in your spreadsheet. (SO FUN, but you can surely use some quick excel function like find/replace, etc.)
  3. Upload your new spreadsheet with the bulk upload tool in the interface or through AdWords Editor. Doing this will update your ads with final URLs (your original landing page URLs) and tracking templates (your original URL tracking elements).


3) Advanced


  1. Create a tracking structure you can use as a template across your account, campaign, or ad group from your existing destination URLs.
  2. Decide the level you’ll implement: account, campaign, or ad group levels.
  3. Depending on what you decide in terms of structure and level, the instructions are detailed…read closely here.




  • Reduced website load when new ads or keywords are under review
  • Centralized URL tracking management
  • Future changes to your shared tracking templates won’t reset your ad performance data or interrupt your ad serving