tracking templates landing

Making The Most Of AdWords Tracking Templates

Neil Andrew

Neil Andrew

July 27th, 2019

Neil is Scottish so when he's not writing for PPC Protect he's eating haggis and watching Braveheart.


No matter if you’re a newbie or veteran at PPC marketing, tracking your ad’s clicks is crucial when it comes to managing your campaigns.

You might think Google Ad’s built-in GCLID tracking provides you with enough information to manage your campaigns, but you’d be wrong.

For the professional PPC manager, getting as much information about the users clicking your ads is essential if you want to improve your ROI.

Since Google doesn’t provide users with the most detailed information about who clicked their ads, they allow users to install 3rd party trackers. With these trackers, PPC managers can capture more data about the users which they can then use to improve their targeting.

If you’ve never thought about using a tracking template in your campaign, then now’s the time.

To get you started with AdWords tracking templates, we’ve got a complete step by step guide on how to install one from scratch and check everything is working. So get ready to take your AdWords campaign to the next level by unlocking a vast array of useful data you can use to improve your campaigns.

Why Do People Use Tracking Templates?

marin tracking template software

As we briefly mentioned in the introduction, there are many reasons why someone might want to use a tracking template. The most popular reason is that it provides users with a lot more information about the clicks they are receiving than AdWord’s default analytics does.

By default, Google’s analytics doesn’t collect any personal or identifiable information about a user. This means no IP addresses, referrers, or device IDs. For many PPC managers, this makes it incredibly hard to know if their marketing efforts are attracting the right kind of users or not. Moreover, since marketers want to continually improve and refine their AdWords campaigns, getting their hands on this data is incredibly valuable.

By collecting more data from individuals, this data can be processed and used to generate a number of interesting statistics. Such as:

Which sites are bringing you the most traffic if you’re running ads on the display network, or if the same users keep clicking your ads.

Not only can this data be used to improve your targeting options, but it can actually be used to increase your overall ROI.

Now you know the advantages of using AdWords tracking templates, how about do you go about setting one up yourself?

How to Set Up A Tracking Template In AdWords

tracking template graph

Before you set up a tracking template in AdWords, you’ll need to find a 3rd party tracker to use. Currently, there are plenty of tracking options out there with many of them priced around the amount of monthly clicks.

At the lower end of the scale, you can get something from as little as $9 per month, with prices quickly rising into the 100’s of dollars. Depending on the size of your campaign will depend on what package you need.

A good low-cost tracker that is capable of being used with AdWords is LinkTrackr, starting from $9 a month, you’ll be able to track over 10,000 clicks which should be enough for most small accounts. If you’re looking for something with more clicks per month, then their extreme package does up to 500,000 clicks a month.

Once you’ve signed up for a tracking service, you’ll have to follow the instructions and create your tracking template link. Obviously, this is different for every tracker so we won’t mention any specific steps here. But once you’ve created the link, setting it up in AdWords will be the same for every tracker.

AdWords Tracking Template Step By Step Example

Now you’ve got your tracking template ready to go. It’s time to actually place it within Google AdWords.

The first step is to click the campaign you want to add the tracking template on and go to the settings menu on the left-hand side menu. Clicking this will open a new window on the right-hand side that will list all the specific settings for the campaign. At the bottom of this list, you’ll see a button that will show you additional settings, click on it.

tracking template step 1

Once you’ve opened up the additional settings, look for the campaign URL options section and expand it. The first box at the top is where your tracking template from your tracking software will go.

tracking template step 2

This URL will contain parameters in curly brackets that represent variables that will be passed along to the software. By using these, the tracker will be able to understand what campaign the click came from, the keyword, and the landing page amongst other things. All of which is valuable information when it comes to monitoring your campaigns.

If you’re having trouble setting up your specific tracking template then it’s always best to ask for help from the people who make the tracking software. Here at PPC Protect, we have our own detailed guide on installing a tracking template.

In this guide, we focus on adding tracking templates at the account level. Remember that Google will always give preference to the template at the more granular level. That means any template you have at the ad, ad group or campaign level will overwrite any account level tracking. In instances like this you will need to merge those templates together with any new templates you are using.

Test Tracking Template

Once you’ve installed the tracking template the first thing you’ll want to do is test it. This can be done by clicking the test button just below the input field. In addition to this, you’ll most likely want to click one of your own ads (or wait for someone else to do so).

This is to confirm that your tracking template is working and it’s capturing data from the user. The last thing you want is the tracking template to break your campaign or not collect all that valuable information.

Once everything is set up and working correctly, you can start to analyse all the clicks from your ads to see how you can improve your targeting options and increase your return on investment.

This is an entire topic for another article, but the main things to look out for are the location, device, browser and IP address. By taking action on the data you’ve collected you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can transform your AdWords campaigns.

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