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Home > English > Marin University > Marin On-Demand > Training: The URL Builder

Training: The URL Builder

What You'll Learn

In this article, we'll show you how to:

  • Use the Platform's URL Builder to automate the insertion of tracking parameters into your Google URLs.
  • Understand how the Platform builds your URLs using Tracking Templates and URL Parameters
  • Edit or delete your URL Parameters, and make use of Google's Custom Parameters

Note that these instructions apply to the Google campaigns only. For info about other publishers, please see the Want to Know More? section below. 

What is the URL Builder?

The Platform's URL Builder (sometimes referred to as the New URL Builder) can take a little time to set up, but it's a very powerful tool that makes tracking your campaign performance easier than ever. On top of that, using the URL Builder will save you a huge amount of time that would otherwise be spent updating your URLs. 

The first important note is that the following instructions apply to Google campaigns only, but we'll also provide links to articles that cover the URL Builder for other publishers too; see the Want to Know More? section for details. 

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 13.38.48.png

By leveraging Google's latest URL structure changes (also known as Upgraded URLs), the Platform can automatically build URLs for your objects. The basic building blocks of a URL are the Tracking TemplatesCustom Parameters, and the Final URL (known as Landing Page in the Platform). In a nutshell, the Tracking Template tells the Platform which of the Custom Parameters to put together in order to create the Final URL. By creating each of these elements, you can leverage the URL Builder to automatically add tracking details to your URLs at any level, from the account-wide all the way down to specific keywords. 

Sound good? Then let's find out how it works!

See it in action

Join a member of the Marin Software team as we delve into the details of both setting up the URL Builder, and using it to automate the construction of your URLs. 

Click the play button to get started.  (Length: X:XX). 


<Insert video>

How to

Below we'll detail the basic use of the URL Builder in a step-by-step format. If you have any questions about this process, please reach out to your Platform representative. 

Note: If you are using redirects, please refer to the Using Redirects with URL Builder section below before reading through the guide. 

Accessing the URL Builder

You can reach the URL Builder anytime by following these steps:

  1. Log in to the Platform.
  2. Click the Admin link in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click into the Revenue sub-tab.

    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 13.38.48.png

  4. Next, from the Revenue Settings menu on the left, click on URL Builder. This will bring up the overlay and you'll be ready to start setting things up!

Setting up the URL Builder

The first step in using the URL Builder is to prepare it for the creation of your first Tracking Template. Here's how to do that.

  1. In the lower-left corner of the URL Builder, click the ('plus') button and add the relevant publisher (in this case Google), if it doesn't already appear in the list on the left.

  2. Next, you'll need to decide at which level you'd like to build your Tracking Template. Many businesses will build a single Tracking Template to cover the whole account, but you can also build one for Campaign, Group, Keyword and more. Just click the Action button and select + New Template, then click on the relevant level. 

    Note that Tracking Templates are set at the account-level by default, which is our recommended option. This means you don't need to select it manually. Other options (such as creative-level Tracking Templates) are available in case you need to use them for a specific business goal. 

  3. You're now all set to begin constructing your new Tracking Template.

Creating a new Tracking Template

Now that the URL Builder is ready to roll, it's time to create your first Tracking Template. You can think of this as a formula for the Landing Page URL; a set of instructions that tells the Platform which parameters to insert into each URL. To build one of these, you'll first need to create some URL Parameters. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click the New URL Parameter button on the right of the URL Builder.
  2. In the box that appears, give your new URL Parameter a name. It's a good idea to choose something short but descriptive. This name will appear as part of the Tracking Template, and will contain all of the tracking parameters that you may have used in the past. 
  3. In the Append To box, you can select the parameter that represents your Landing Page. In most cases this will be pre-populated with {lpurl}.
  4. Next, use the text box to enter the parameters you'd like to include in each URL. You can also use the buttons below the box to automatically add existing parameters, or Google ValueTrack parameters. Marin Macros are a number of pre-set Platform-specific values which you can pick from, such as [dimension]. Which parameters you choose here will depend on what you'd like to track, so be sure you speak with your Platform representative before making your changes. Once you've constructed your parameter string, you can also choose an End Stop Character if required. When you're ready, click Add.

  5. Note that, when creating Tracking Templates, you can also click the Custom Parameters tab to make use of URL snippets that will be substituted by Google when the ad itself is served. These will be added to your Tracking Template in just the same way as the URL Parameters. Please take a look at Google's documentation for more information about what each Custom Parameter does.  
  6. Now that your first URL Parameter has been added, you'll notice that the Preview Template section has been updated with the new structure it'll use for building your URLs.

  7. You can see that both the Structure and Final Template fields are showing the schema in use, as well as a preview of the actual URL structure. 

  8. That's it for URL Parameter creation. Note that can create as many of these as you like, and each one will be appended to the structure shown within the Preview Template area. 

Editing and deleting parameters

You can easily make changes to the parameters you create in URL Builder, as follows:

  1. In the parameters grid shown in the URL Builder, click the 'pencil' icon under the Edit column. 

  2. In the pane that pops up, you can use the same tools as you did during creation to make the relevant changes. 

  3. You can also click Delete Parameter to remove this item entirely.
  4. Click Update and your changes will be saved. 

Using redirects with URL Builder

The Platform allows you customize your URL setup by specifying whether you have URL redirects enabled. If you are using redirects, you can also specify the encoding level of your redirecting URLs and Landing Page here as well. The default value for redirects is Off.

Enabling Redirects

To enable redirects, follow the instructions below:

  1. If you are using redirects, click the 'pencil' icon next to the Redirect Settings section.
  2. Select whether you are using Single or Double redirects.
  3. Enter the Redirect URL you are using (i.e. tracker.marinsm.com/rd?)


  4. In the Connector box, enter the Connector Parameter that contains the value of the landing page URL or second redirect (i.e. lp=). This allows the Platform to automatically connect URLs.
  5. The Landing Page field should be pre-populated with the relevant parameter (i.e. {lpurl}). You can also select the encoding level of the Landing Page URL by using the Encode drop-down next to the relevant text box. 

A note about URL Autocorrect

When working with the URL Builder, you can also enable URL Autocorrect, which will automatically apply URL settings to objects when they're synced to the Platform. You can set Autocorrect to either fix these automatically or have the Platform warn you. For more information, please see the relevant article link in the Want to Know More? section below. 

You can enable URL Autocorrect by clicking into the Preferences menu from the main URL Builder pane. 



Try it yourself

Sometimes the best way to really get to grips with a feature is to try it yourself. Because the URL Builder in the Platform is tied to live data, we've created an interactive section you can use to avoid making any accidental changes. None of your results will be saved and this is all for practice, so feel free to take as long as you need to become familiar with the URL Builder. 

Get started by clicking below. 


Want to know more?

Due to the complexity of the URL Builder, you may want to dig into some of our other Support Center content on this topic. Just click any of the links below to read an article:



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