How to Track Your Google Shopping Campaigns

Kaitlin Pursley / 8th September 2014 / Comment

 

google shopping 101 tracking campaignsNow that you know why data feed quality matters and how to build your first data feed, it’s important to make sure that your conversion tracking is properly configured for your Google Shopping campaigns.

Incorrect product URL configuration

You may use internal or third party tracking parameters for your Google Shopping campaigns. If this is the case, it is vital that your product URLs are configured correctly for the Google Shopping data feed to ensure conversions and revenue are properly attributed.

In the ‘link’ attribute, you may have a product URL that contains conversion tracking parameters (everything after the “?” is a tracking parameter):

http://www.example.com/product.aspx?p=12345&crcat=direct&crsource=online&crkw=Hand+Pruners,+0.4-inch&utm_source=google-products&utm_medium=shopping&utm_content=Hand+Pruners,+0.4-inch

There are two issues with the above product URL:

  1. The tracking parameters contain symbols, such as commas (see the comma after “Pruners” in the example above). These symbols throw off Google system, causing an error that prevents these products from being shown on Google Shopping.
  2. The tracking parameters do not belong in the ‘link’ attribute of the product data feed.

If you keep your tracking parameters in the ‘link’ attribute and your URLs contain symbols and you upload your data feed into the Google Merchant Center, you could get one or both of the following errors:

Google Shopping Error - URLs do not belong to your website

Google Shopping Error - Invalid URL in attribute link
The products that contain one or both of these errors will not be shown in search results on Google Shopping until these errors are resolved.

So, the next question is: How do we fix these errors?

Removing symbols with URL encoded entities

To remove symbols from the tracking parameters in product URLs, all URLs must be replaced with URL encoded entities, such as comma = %2C. URL encoding is important as it converts symbols into a format that can be transmitted over the internet.
Once the URLs have been replaced with URL encoded entities, the product URL would be changed to look like:

Check out this HTML URL Coding Reference article for more information on URL encoded entities.

‘Adwords redirect’ attribute

As previously mentioned, tracking parameters do not belong in the ‘link’ attribute. The ‘link’ attribute should only contain the product URL, without any tracking. Instead, URLs with tracking parameters belong in the ‘adwords redirect’ attribute.

The ‘adwords redirect’ attribute allows you to specify a separate URL that contains whatever tracking parameters you use, such as utm parameters or internal tracking codes. When the Shopping ad serves, Google’s system uses the URL provided in the ‘adwords redirect’ attribute so that all tracking remains in tact.

It is crucial that the URL provided in the ‘adwords redirect’ goes to the same website as the URL provided in the ‘link’ attribute or your products will be disapproved and will not show on Google Shopping.

Dynamic tracking URLs

You can also use the ‘adwords redirect’ attribute to insert dynamic tracking parameters into your Google Shopping data feed. Dynamic tracking URLs use ValueTrack parameters which automatically add tags to your website URL. These parameters work with Google Analytics or other third-party tracking software.

For more information on setup and implementation of dynamic tracking URLs, check out this article: Using dynamic tracking URLs in Google Shopping.

The moral of the story and the point of this blog post is to make sure your Google Shopping campaigns get the proper credit for the transactions and revenue they surely bring in.

Check out my other posts on Google Shopping:

Google Shopping 101: Why Data Feed Quality Matters

Google Shopping 101: Building Your First Data Feed

By Kaitlin Pursley