Google announced today that it's making a change to how some clicks coming from Google appear in traffic logs and web analytics software, though Google Analytics itself will not be affected by the change.
There are now three possible referrers.
Referrers for clicks on ads for a term like "shoes," have, until now, looked like either:
Now, they may also look like:
The new referrer is on a different domain, and has a new path.
"We’re making this change because we’re trying to improve the experience of clicking on an ad for our users," says Ali Mohammad with Google's Ads Latency Team. "For historical reasons, Google currently uses two redirects on two different domains for many of the ads on our site. We are streamlining our infrastructure to remove one of these redirects, which brings users to ad landing pages faster, leading to a better user experience for our users and a better return on ad clicks for our advertisers."
"The new referrer format ensures that advertisers will still get the relevant bits of information about a search that drove traffic to their site, but without the extra redirect," Mohammad adds.
Google says it will keep the number of affected searches low throughout the next month, but will move to all queries in August.