Upgrading to HTTPS? Here’s Your AdWords Checklist

Starting this month, the Chrome internet browser will start flagging any website that is HTTP as “not secure” if they contain login fields, forms, etc. For now, my browser shows a small “i” icon next to the URL for non-secure sites and when clicked the following message is displayed:


Contrast this with the appearance given to sites that use the HTTPS protocol (meaning that all communication between the website and your computer is encrypted for security) where there is a green lock and the word “Secure”:

For internet users that are increasingly wary in the wake of hacking scandals like Equifax and Yahoo, this type of trust indicator could become very important for many websites.

So if you’re an AdWords advertiser and you’re making the change to HTTPS, then you’ve got some additional work in front of you.

Upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS is considered by AdWords as a totally new URL, so you need to make several changes to your account after making the change.

HTTPS Upgrade Checklist for Google AdWords

Many of these changes can be made easily in the AdWords Editor tool with a simple find/replace of “http” for “https”. That includes all ad changes (ETA, image, responsive, display, DSA), ad extensions (sitelinks and price extensions), and keyword-level URLs.

However, for changes to your product feeds you’ll need to update the feed and resubmit through Google Merchant Center. Without adieu, here is your checklist to make sure you’re covered:

  • Ads
    • ETA Final URL field
    • Image ads Final URL field
    • Responsive ads Final URL field
    • Display ads Final URL field
    • Dynamic search ads Final URL field
    • Basically any ad except…
    • Standard Text ads are dead to you now
  • Product Feeds (yep, even this)
    • Link
    • Image link (and additional image links too)
  • Ad Extensions
    • Sitelinks
    • Price extensions
  • Keyword-level URLs

Conclusion

In short, this upgrade will improve a lot of things for your site. While their is some work involved to keep your AdWords campaigns running smoothly, most of it is simple find/replace in AdWords Editor. The feed updating, depending on your tool/provider, should be equally straightforward. This will keep your site up-to-date and secure so that your customers and potential customers feel confident when engaging with your website.

Important: You should redirect all HTTP pages to their corresponding HTTPS pages. However, do not use this as a crutch to NOT upgrade URLs in AdWords.

What would you recommend for advertisers upgrading to HTTPS? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

Comments (3)

  1. Won’t replacing the URL in the editor create a new ad (pausing the original)? I’m concerned that in a matter of seconds my entire account will be full of completely new ads, and I’ll lose some momentum from high performing ads, not to mention historical data for current A/B tests.

    I know find-and-replace is certainly the easiest way to go about it, but it seems safer to me to make the upgrade in the natural course of replacing ads.

  2. It will indeed create new ads. That’s the major downside for advertisers in opposition to the benefits that HTTPS confers. And yes, you can continue to allow your ads to redirect from the HTTP to HTTPS version. Just keep in mind that you could potentially lose tracking variables in the redirect and I would anticipate AdWords eventually requiring the upgrade.

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