How Google parallel tracking will influence tracking in CPA networks

In 2017 Google worked out a function which is called «parallel tracking». The company promised to make it obligatory for all Google Ads accounts since October 30, 2019. However, it did not happen.

What is this function for, what will it bring to affiliate marketing and which tools can defend publishers from financial losses? Affiliate network Admitad is ready to answer these questions.

How parallel tracking works

Traditional tracking links don’t deliver the user immediately to the advertisers` page. They launch the chain of tracking redirects.Passing through all the stages of this chain is important for the accurate attribution of orders and correct assignment of the commission to publishers.

This system is called sequential tracking.    

The way through all transitional elements of the chain can be slow (for instance, due to the low speed of the Internet connection), so the user may lose patience and stop loading the link.

According to Google (with the reference to the Akamai blog), even the one second delay in loading the page can significantly reduce the conversion – up to 20%.

To solve this problem, Google has developed parallel tracking. From now on Google Ads links lead a customer directly to the to the product page, while tracking processes run in the background.

Possible problems

Speeding up page load time leads to increased conversion: if users reach the website via affiliate link more often, publishers will be able to monetize their traffic in a more effective way.  On the other hand, at the outset the transition may cause for publishers several problems and increase risks.

Firstly, if Google requires parallel tracking for all Google Ads accounts, in the beginning traditional (sequential) tracking via affiliate links will stop working – the final URL will have neither affiliate network`s  nor the advertiser’s parameters. Thus, the generated traffic will look like organic for an advertiser: publishers, using old links, will stop getting commission.

Secondly, there is always a risk that something may go wrong. Detailed information on how the mechanism works in different browsers does not exist. Admitad tests have shown that in the end of January parallel tracking worked correctly only for Chrome on Androids.   

Parallel Tracking FAQ is available here Google API .

How to assure correct tracking?

In case Google force the implementation of parallel tracking, affiliate network Admitad has refined tracking algorithms and created a new  «Google Advertising» section.

This tool is aimed at protecting publishers and ensuring correct tracking of orders, which otherwise could be lost. Partners will be able to get tracking links compatible with the parallel tracking mechanism in the Google Ads section.

«The launch of new tool helped us to prevent possible attribution problems. The recipe is simple:  tracking links compatible with the parallel tracking mechanism which ensure correct tracking of orders!»  — commented Daniil Spitsa, Chief Product Officer at Admitad.


To set up tracking via Google Ads, a publisher should:

  • Turn on auto-tagging;
  • copy new tracking template and final URL suffix on the affiliate program page (Advertising materials -> Google Ads)
  • Paste them into the relevant fields for Google Ads advertising campaigns.

The full instruction is available in Admitad Help Center .

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