What Is Destination Mismatch? Why Does Your Google Ad Get This Error?

What Is Destination Mismatch? Why Does Your Google Ad Get This Error?
Photo by Edho Pratama / Unsplash

If you've been using Google advertising for some time, then you've probably heard about the destination mismatch fiasco that happened when Google changed its ad policies. As a result, several businesses suffered not only monetary losses but also lost days (if not weeks) of advertising.

If you're unfamiliar with Google Ads' new policies, you too may fall prey to the dreaded Destination Mismatch. Fortunately, there are ways to work around it and successfully advertise your products.

Here's everything you need to know about the destination mismatch error.

What Does Destination Mismatch Mean?

Destination Mismatch is a term for one of Google Ads' policy violations. You are alerted of violating policy via destination mismatch when your Final URL and Display URL are not the same. If your Display URL indicated that you were heading to YouTube, but your ad sends the user to Facebook, you wouldn't be able to run your ads due to destination mismatch.

Five Reasons You Get Destination Mismatch

We must first learn what we are doing wrong or what Google Ads policies require to solve the problem. Although the main reason Google Ads hits you with destination mismatch is because of the difference between your Final URL and Display URL, there might also be other reasons.

Here are five reasons you may be getting the destination mismatch error repeatedly.

1. Inaccurate Direction

As previously mentioned, it violates Google Ads' policies when an ad doesn't accurately show where the user is being directed. For example, if your display URL shows "www.edgy.edu," but then your user is led to a landing page with a URL stating "www.learnmore.edu," then you'd get a destination mismatch.

Even the keyword insertion feature (a feature that allows you to update your ads with keywords to make your ads more relevant) in the top or second-level domain would get you a destination mismatch.

2. Differing Domains

Another reason you could be getting a destination mismatch is that your display URL's domain or domain extension is not the same as the final URL. It doesn't have to be a completely different URL.

The devil can be in the details, and even seemingly minor differences between your final URLs and domain extensions will violate policy. If your display URL is "www.cartsforless.com" and your final URL is "www.cartsforless.to," it still would not be permitted.

The domain or domain extension has to match the final URL.

3. Improper Subdomain Identification

Accuracy in the final URL and display URL match is basically Google Ads' theme regarding the destination mismatch violation. Even though the display URL is the parent domain of the final URL (or vice versa), it still wouldn't be allowed.

You must properly identify a page from all the other sites hosted on that domain or the parent domain. If your display URL says "multiply.com," your final URL cannot be "dogs.multiply.com"—that is unless 'multiply.com" is known to represent a single company or entity.

4. Redirects from Final URLs

Google Ads' policies do not stop in the display and final URLs. It also involves redirects. If your user gets to your final URL's site only to be redirected elsewhere, it would not be permitted either.

Google Ads values truth in advertising. If your display URL shows one thing, then the landing page and final URL should match it, with no exceptions. If your final URL is "phonecases.com," when your users reach that site, they shouldn't be redirected to "phonecasesred.com" or anywhere else.

5. Misleading Tracking Templates

The last reason you might violate destination mismatch is misleading tracking templates. Tracking templates may lead users to particular pages that aren't the same as the final URL.

For example, your users may click a URL that leads to a site's general homepage, but then a tracking template directs them to the discount site. This is yet another form of the final URL and the eventual landing page not matching.

How Do We Fix Destination Mismatch?

a business woman who is stressed and frustrated
Photo by Elisa Ventur / Unsplash

So now that we know the specific causes of destination mismatch, how do we fix it? It's pretty simple. You have to make sure every ad in your ad group eventually ends up in the same, one final URL path.

If you want several ads going to their sites, that is still an option. It will just take a few (or a lot) more extra steps as they must be in different ad groups. Campaigns with differing URLs are permitted, but ads in ad groups must all arrive at the same final URL.

If you've ensured that the ads in your ad group all fall into the same URL, you can then appeal. If you place your clicker over the disapproval, you'll typically be offered the chance to appeal. Click "appeal" and pick out the ads you want Google to reconsider.

When you want to use short links for your ads, you must ensure that it's a subdomain of your main page. That way, you avoid this error. Thankfully, there's an easy way to add a subdomain to your primary webpage using Short.io. That way, you can track all your marketing campaigns—whether it's through paid Google ads or via organic social media posts—while avoiding destination mismatch issues with your Google ads.

Avoid Destination Mismatch Errors and Get Your Ad Going

It would be best to update yourself on Google Ads' policies and avoid the five reasons you get destination mismatch to avoid the hassle of fixing and appealing destination mismatch ad disapprovals. When creating ads in an ad group, ensure that every display URL leads to a final matching URL that does not redirect users to other sites.

When you are updated on Google Ads' policies and avoid their violations, you can save time, money, and effort lost in problematic Google ads.

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