Prepare Yourself: Changes to Google Tracking for Display Ads on The Horizon

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Google’s planned change to parallel tracking for display ads is coming soon, and advertisers might want to take advantage of the benefits it offers.

Google recently announced a change to its display ad system that will go through at the end of this month, switching all display ads to something known as parallel tracking.

“Faster mobile sites mean better user experiences and more conversions. Parallel tracking allows for much faster load times than traditional click tracking. Data shows that advertisers who’ve adopted parallel tracking have seen page load time reduced by up to five seconds,” the announcement reads.

Tracking an ad’s clicks typically happens by first loading a script that pings special online tracking software before the destination page loads. It might take some time for this script to run, as it often checks whether the click is unique and gathers other data that could be useful to the advertiser running the campaign.

This delay is why some ads require an immense amount of time to load their destination pages compared to clicking a simple HTML link.

Parallel tracking moves this entire process to another thread, operating in the background while the destination page starts loading instantly. Now, the advertiser’s landing page is the only thing actually affecting the load time.

A reduction of up to five seconds, as per Google’s claim, is a drastic change, considering the fact that the average load time for a roughly two-megabyte page is 8.66 seconds in 2018.

Adding five seconds to that means that a visitor clicking on an ad might bail rather than wait an entire quarter of a minute for both the click tracker and the website to load. In a CPM model campaign, this translates to potentially serious loss of revenue.

Parallel tracking isn’t something new; Google’s been making this a default behavior for its ads since October 30, 2018. The difference now is that the company won’t be presenting any alternatives to this style of tracking.

Advertisers who use a third-party click measurement tool and wish to keep using Google’s ad services will have to check with the tool’s publisher to see if it’s already compatible with the changes that are coming on the 31st of July.

Since this method has been the norm for nearly a year, it’s likely that there are solutions and templates available to make this transition easier.

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