Final vs Destination URLs

by Patrick Cusumano   |   Jul 28, 2015   |   Clock Icon 3 min read
Final URLs are replacing Destination URLs! Don’t panic. Everything is going to be okay. Google has announced that Destination URLs as we know them are going away in favor of this new format. Here I'll be discussing what to expect from this change.
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Final URLs are replacing Destination URLs! Don’t panic. Everything is going to be okay.

Google has announced that Destination URLs as we know them are going away in favor of this new format.

The old destination URL was the landing page URL plus tracking parameters, meaning if you wanted to adjust your tracking, you had to change the whole URL. You will now use the Final URL field instead of the Destination URL, and use the Ad URL options for tracking. If you don’t use tracking, this doesn’t really affect you and there’s no difference between Final and Destination URL. It should also be noted that this is only relevant for tracking parameters that also redirect traffic, not those that just adjust something on the page (like changing phone numbers).

If you do use tracking, however, know that the Final URL field is just for your landing page URL, without any tracking parameters. You’ll enter those separately. This means that when you update your tracking information you won’t have to resubmit your ads for approval. You can manage the tracking info in the Ad URL options section, which can be specified at the account, campaign, ad group, ad, keyword, and sitelink levels.

The tracking template will create a new address users click through to reach the landing page. You can use custom parameters to identify things like keywords, similar to ValueTrack parameters. Below is Google’s example of how to use these features. If you want a more in-depth explanation check out the AdWords Help page on tracking and redirects.

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Let’s say that you own a shoe store, and you’ve specified a destination URL for the keyword “ankle boots.” Your destination URL might look something like this (with tracking content in green):

You’d set up your upgraded URLs this way:

  • Set a Final URL to
  • Use the {lpurl} ValueTrack parameter to reference that final URL
  • Define a custom parameter for the keyword “ankle boots”: mykwid=751123
  • Set your tracking template to when someone searches for “ankle boots,” AdWords puts together the URL you ad links to, by replacing {lpurl} with the Final URL, and {_mykwid} with 751123.

    How Do I Upgrade?

    Your current destination URLs should be automatically upgraded this month, copying your current destination URLs to the Final URL field. Google states that if you use tracking, you’ll have local tracking templates for each of your final URLs. All your previous ad data will be retained and the upgrade won’t cause another policy review for your ads.

    The Verdict

    Two thumbs up! The separation of fields for updating landing page URLs and tracking information makes it much easier to make updates. The tracking template will upgrade tracking info across all your ads if you set it at the ad group or campaign level which saves time. And now when you adjust your tracking info, your ads don’t go back for review, and your ad stats don’t get reset. It seems like it should’ve been like this all along doesn’t it?

Portrait of Patrick Cusumano

Patrick Cusumano

Patrick Cusumano has been crafting and implementing digital marketing strategies at Workshop Digital since 2015. He has experience driving success for businesses of a wide variety of sizes and industries. As a Paid Media Team Lead, he supports and manages a talented team in their professional growth and client results.

Patrick has a B.B.A. in Marketing from James Madison University, where he began his digital marketing journey while competing in the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

In his spare time, you’ll find Patrick playing board games, reading Star Wars novels, watching soccer, and spending time with his wife, his friends, and his cat.