Paid Media News Roundup

AdWords – Notes

Those who have made the switch to the new AdWords interface may have noticed they can now add notes to campaign and ad group-level graphs. If you are yet to make the switch, or see the option, it is revealed when hovering over a point on the graph, as seen below.

Notes offer a centralised place to document any important changes and, through doing so, allow you to build a comprehensive picture of your account over time. Perhaps more important, however, is the much needed respite they offer to those who have grown tired of rifling through external documents, emails, or the change history for the date of a change or perhaps a promotion; wholly unwelcome tasks that I will certainly be glad to see the back of.

AdWords – Parallel Tracking

In a bid to improve landing-page times, and mobile web experiences, Google will, from the end of October this year, require parallel tracking on all accounts.

Parallel tracking seeks to overcome the problem of tracking codes slowing down landing pages, by essentially splitting the landing page and the tracking. Users can then be sent straight to the landing page, whilst the tracking is sent to an ad click measurement server. This stops users waiting for any redirects to load.

While parallel tracking is currently optional, early adoption could allow you to speed up your site’s load time, setting you aside from those who choose not to make the switch. The importance of this is furthered by the fact that from the end of this month, mobile speed will start being factored into your quality score.

DoubleClick – Digital Audio Ad Inventory

As the number of people who use music streaming services continues to grow, it is only to be expected that so too will the ways for advertisers to reach them. The latest platform to support the programmatic buying of audio ads is DoubleClick Bid Manager, whose advertisers can now reach audiences on Google Play Music, Spotify, Soundcloud and TuneIn.

Developments like these offer an exciting opportunity for advertisers to begin building a picture of how to engage with their audience through audio ads. The challenge going forward, and one that will only be compounded as more exchanges begin to offer audio ads and more advertisers begin to experiment with them, will be to engage with users in a relevant, non-intrusive way. As such, early insights will be a valuable way to stay ahead of the competition.

Google Sheets – AdWords Add-On

Google recently launched into beta an AdWords add-on for Google sheets, allowing users to create reports that can be run from, and downloaded to, a Google sheet – similar to the Google Analytics add-on. This allows users to create custom reports that are easy to update and can be easily shared, without writing scripts or investing in third-party software.

Unfortunately, the add-on is still lacking a few reports, such as shopping, and, unlike the Analytics add-on, a script, or many third-party solutions, does not allow you to schedule your reports.

Although it is not currently possible to automate every aspect of reporting through the add-on, it is certainly a step in the right direction and will be a useful tool once the other reports and a scheduling feature have been added.

Google Relaunches Shopping to Meet EU Rulings

Earlier this year, an EU commission penalised Google for €2.4bn (£2.1bn) in antitrust fines after a seven-year investigation found that the search engine’s algorithms have been artificially boosting Google Shopping’s ads’ visibility in search results over its competitors.

The commission set a deadline of the 28th September for Google to respond, and they did so, by relaunching Shopping as a service that’s separate to the Google main business.

Changes to Shopping have coincided with changes to how ads display in search. Now, Google Shopping will bid for slots in a redesigned ads panel against competitors like Kelkoo and Shopzilla, and can do so solely with its own generated revenue, rather than receiving subsidies from Google parent Alphabet. When a comparison site wins a slot, their site name will appear beneath the advertised product. Ads won by Google Shopping will be marked by ‘By Google’, which is one of the only ways that the service and its namesake will remain connected.

Google Shopping Update

‘By Google’

Google’s spokesperson in Brussels, Al Verney, said: ‘We’re giving comparison shopping services the same opportunity to show shopping ads from merchants on Google’s search results pages as we give to Google Shopping’.

‘Shopping will compete on equal terms, and will operate as if it were a separate business, participating in the auction in the same way as everyone else’.

Nevertheless, it’s yet to be seen how Europe will react to the reimagined services. Google made the European commission aware of their plans in August but are yet to receive confirmation that the changes satisfy their concerns. Meanwhile, several publications are reporting that just ten competitor sites have signed up to participate in the auctions, amidst talks of a boycott by over three hundred rivals, which would cause Google’s monopoly of the service to continue.

Since starting in 2009, Google’s shopping service has become a major part of the company’s worldwide operations, accounting for over a fifth of all ad revenue. Certainly, being forced to make changes will be a cause for concern.

However, the ruling’s most serious implication for Google is the risk of setting a precedent and – potentially – opening the door to future independent scrutiny, in not just the EEA but across the world. Any third-party monitoring could potentially extend to the company’s algorithms, which are its most prized intellectual property.

On a practical note, we’re intrigued to see how the restructuring may affect the digital marketing landscape, and how we’ll need to adapt our strategies in order to keep delivering best in class ad campaigns and strategies. If Shopping’s changes leads to competitor comparison sites gaining a much greater foothold in search results impressions, then all agencies will need to respond accordingly. Of course, we’ll keep following this as it develops – so, watch this (ad) space!

Download Google Shopping Management Guide

Helping the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund

When our sister agency MadeByPi told us they were working with the Childrens Heart Surgery Fund we immediately began thinking of ways in which we could help out.

They had previously explored Facebook advertising as a means of getting their message out, and inspiring donations. However, working to a very limited budget they had not yet explored the opportunities within paid search.

Given the budget constraints we were delighted to be able to help them access free promotion and free traffic on Google Adwords, whilst donating our time for free as part of our commitment to local charities.

We introduced them to the Google Ad Grants programme – an opportunity for non-profits to access free advertising budget on Google Adwords. Working within a fairly broad framework registered non-profits can access up to $10,000 per month in free Adwords traffic, with no spend commitment required.

We worked closely with Andy at CHSF to help submit the non-profit and ad grants applications. This included building an Adwords account to highlight their award-winning work in support of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit. Keywords and ad copy were created in collaboration with Andy, all whilst helping develop his understanding of the Adwords set-up process.

Once live we provided a training session to help Andy understand the requirements for continually developing and improving the activity, as well as reporting on it, updating copy, and creating new campaigns. Ongoing we are delighted to be available as a constant support partner for any questions or issues. Ultimately we want to ensure they get as much free traffic as they possibly can to help drive the amazing work they are doing.

“We’re really grateful to Fusion Unlimited for giving their time and expertise for nothing to help us take advantage of Google Ad Grants, and teaching us how to use Google Adwords.

Matt at Fusion has been supremely patient and professional in showing us how everything works and building us an introductory suite of campaigns.
Google Adwords will be invaluable in helping build our online presence to bring in more traffic to our website and spread awareness to potential new supporters.”

Andy McNally
Marketing and Communications Manager
Children’s Heart Surgery Fund

Facebook Marketing: Lead Generation Adverts

Facebook Marketing: Lead Generation Adverts

The Facebook advertising platform is becoming increasingly advanced as more advertisers are starting to use the medium. There are a number of new ad formats available in the interface, with one of the most recent being lead generation adverts.

The new lead generation adverts have now been rolled out globally and are available to all advertisers. These can be created by selecting ‘lead generation’ as the campaign objective in the advertising interface (this may need to be done in Power Editor beforehand). The advert itself is easy to create, and uses a customisable enquiry form whereby the only the data that is important to you can be requested.

One of the main advantages of the lead generation adverts is that the user’s details can be captured without them leaving Facebook itself. The enquiry form is prepopulated with the user’s name, email and phone number (provided they have entered these into Facebook). Usually, the user would see the ad on Facebook, click through to the website, and then manually type in their own information – however, the lead gen adverts need only 2 clicks, making the process much easier for the user.

The information submitted by the users is likely to be of a higher quality, as most users have provided their full names and main email addresses to sign up for their Facebook account. In addition to basic contact details, up to 3 of your own custom questions can be added, which is great for helping to pre-qualify the leads that are generated. This also makes following up on the leads much easier, with more valuable information provided to the sales teams beforehand. Examples of the customisable questions could include the user’s location or the type of products they may be interested in.

The enquiry forms also offer the user the choice to visit the website after, however as this is optional, the user may not always visit the site straight away. Although this may increase the number of leads that are generated beforehand, a potential impact could be that less traffic is driven towards the website. This confines the user’s engagement to Facebook itself, making it ever more important for brands to increase customer engagement on the platform. Remarketing is also an effective way of generating leads- but if users do not visit the website, this will not be possible.

Initially, the lead generation adverts were only available to show on the mobile news feed, but they have proven so successful that they have now been extended across to desktop devices too. They will also be rolled out across video and carousel ads in the future, so we look forward to testing these across a variety of different ad formats.

We have already started implementing the lead generation adverts for some of our clients, and have seen great results so far. Just in the last week, we have seen an uplift in enquiries of 400%, with the average cost per lead reduced by over 50%. The below screenshots show some examples of the lead gen adverts:

 

 

 

Google’s new layout: the impact so far

Google’s new layout: the impact so far

Last week’s hot topic in the world of digital marketing was the rollout of Google’s new layout on desktop. The new layout sees up to four text ads displayed at the top of search results, right hand side text ads removed and up to three text ads displayed at the bottom. Both product listing ads and the knowledge panel, however, will still appear at the right hand side of search results.

Some insist that there will be little impact for PPC marketers from the new layout, as ads at the right hand side and bottom of search results account for just 14.6% of total clicks. In addition to this, desktop now accounts for less than half of all searches, suggesting that the new layout will effect just 7.3% of search queries.

According to some, the change will provide improved usability and a better user experience due to its’ presentation. The new layout unifies mobile and desktop, synergising the two. In addition, it reflects a feed experience like those on Facebook and Twitter that we’re all so used to. Similar to Google, ads displayed on the right hand side of the Facebook feed have an extremely low CTR in comparison to those in the feed.

Reporting

Ad extensions, such as sitelink extensions and call out extensions, were exclusive to ads at the top of search results and unavailable to ads at the right hand side prior to the new layout. As this is no longer applicable, the change resolves the top ad versus side ad issue, where in some instances text ads included ad extensions and in others they didn’t. This enables more accurate reporting.

Fewer ad positions also means more accurate reporting when looking at average positions. Prior to the new layout, there were up to eleven ad positions up for grabs. For advertisers with strong average positions, their average position was skewed by their most frequent position by ads which appeared further down the page. This previous inaccuracy will be reduced now that there are just seven ad positions available.

What have we seen so far?

As a result of Google’s new layout, most predicted an increase in CPCs. Although this isn’t something we’ve seen to date, it’s perhaps a little too soon to tell. It’s probable that advertisers will adjust their bidding strategies as they react to one another for the top of the page spots, in which case, it’s likely that the smaller advertisers will suffer.

In addition, most projected higher CTRs, something we’ve seen take effect already. Google maintains that the change will improve traffic quality for advertisers at the top of search results, however, some disagree with this due to the fewer click options available. More traffic on high ROI keywords, however, allows advertisers to access more and better traffic than ever before. A focus on conversion rate optimisation is paramount following the new layout, in response to the possibly negative impact it will have on CVR.

Product listing ads

As anticipated, we’ve seen an uplift in product listing ads as high as 32% the week following the change in comparison to the week prior. Similar to text ads, however, we haven’t seen an increase in CPCs, at least for now. This is likely to change, however, as most product listing ads are used by big brands. As a result, it’s possible that the competition for those spots will start to become more intense. In response, some suggest that Google is more likely to take advantage of the revenue generated here than improve usability and experience.

Some report that Google will continue to test the layout of product listing ads and that they may take up more screen real estate or move to different parts of search results pages. Others suggest that Google is currently testing an expandable view of product listing ads which takes the total number of viewable ads from five to fifteen!

As product listing ads are becoming more dominant, it’s important for advertisers to proactively respond to this and seek out any feed issues from Google. Other than bid adjustments, an improved feed is vital following Google’s recent change and one of the key ways to maintain or improve performance following the change.

Google removes right-hand side ads from results pages

rsz_shutterstock_365832824

In its most recent shake-up, Google is no longer showing ads on the right hand side of its results pages.  In place of these ads, Google will now start showing an additional ad at the top of the search results, though it claims this will only occur for ‘highly commercial queries’.

Although the change has not yet been formally announced, a Google spokesperson has confirmed that the change will be rolled out globally.  It is thought that Google began implementing the change last Friday, but this is actually something that’s been in testing since 2010. The rollout was finalised last night, with right hand side ads now phased out completely on desktop and tablet devices.

There are however two exceptions; product listing ads and the knowledge panel. This signals an increased focus on Shopping Ads from Google…

rsz_capture2

 

The change comes in line with Google’s efforts to synergise desktop and mobile search results. For ads to be visible above-the-fold, advertisers will need to make sure that they’re above third or fourth position.

What does this mean for advertisers?

First and foremost, higher CPCs. The competition for the top positions will become much more aggressive, with advertisers increasing bids in order to avoid dropping to the bottom of the page. As a result of this, any ads that are below the third or fourth position are likely to see their clickthrough rate decline from now on.

Not only will this affect PPC, but organic results will also be pushed further down the page; so a bigger focus will be placed on improving organic rankings. As you can see in the screenshot below, a search for ‘hotels in leeds’ generates 4 ads at the top; therefore pushing organic results below the fold.

rsz_hotel

Google has identified that ads on the right hand side tend to see lower average clickthrough rates, and therefore by increasing the focus on the ads at the top of the results page, Google’s profitability can be increased through more clicks at a higher CPC.

Although this may increase the costs for advertisers, it may be a blessing in disguise. This move will see advertisers work harder to increase quality score through better ad relevancy and landing page experience, which in turn will improve the user experience. With the value of paid search clicks expected to rise, conversion rate optimisation will become more important in advertisers’ efforts to turn clicks into conversions.

Mobile ad-blocking: What does this mean for mobile advertisers?

Mobile Advertising

The announcement of ad-blocking capabilities included with Apple’s latest software update, iOS9, has advertisers worried all over the world – what does this mean for the state of mobile advertising itself?

Released to the public in September, iOS9 makes it much easier for developers to develop ad-blocking software which works to block adverts on the Safari browser on the iPhone. Unsurprisingly, this has been met by much dismay from mobile advertisers and publishers alike. Many websites rely on advertising revenue to stay afloat, and with the increasing growth in mobile usage, mobile advertising is going to become increasingly important. 60% of global consumers currently use their mobile phone as their primary internet source and with this figure only likely to increase further over the coming years, what will mobile ad-blocking mean for these websites?

We’ve seen these mobile ad-blockers rise to the top of the paid charts in the App Store, however less than 48 hours after the release of iOS9, the number one ad blocker (Peace) was pulled from the app store. Marco Arment, the creator of Peace, said ‘it just doesn’t feel good’, and in his blog post, he states that ‘while ad blockers benefit a ton of people, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve it.’ It would seem that this is referring to smaller businesses and publishers, who depend on advertising to monetise their online presence. More content is now consumed on mobile than desktop, so without mobile advertising revenue, many independent publishers could face the threat of closure.

These ad-blockers only work on Apple’s Safari app, which for some people, has raised suspicions. Could this be a move for Apple to increase their revenue through in-app advertising? According to figures from the Q2 State of Mobile Advertising report 2015, Android has now overtaken Apple for app monetisation, so it is possible that this is an effort to move advertising away from the mobile browser and towards apps; which in Apple’s case, would increase profits. Google, as many of you will know, is one of the biggest online advertisers. While this move wouldn’t send them under, it could take a sizeable portion out of their mobile advertising profits and could stop users seeing both search ads and ads on Google’s Display Network.

Another of iOS9’s key features is the enhanced Spotlight search, which aims to direct users towards apps before looking on their browser. This is a great move for Apple, and further helps them in their efforts to increase in-app advertising revenue whilst also eating into Google’s mobile browser advertising profits. The announcement earlier this year that Apple may no longer feature Google as Safari’s default search engine should have Google worried; about 75% of their mobile search revenue came from iPhones and iPads in 2014. Whilst Android still dominates the mobile OS market, Apple is creeping up, with iOS boasting market share growth figures of 12% last year.
Although iOS9 requires users to download applications to block ads, it is possible that it might be included as a default feature in future versions of their mobile operating system- this is something that Google should be preparing for.

It will be interesting to see what the effect of iOS9 and Apple’s recent moves will have on the mobile advertising industry in the next year. Will Apple dominate mobile search? Will Google have to devise a new mobile advertising strategy? Will publishers start to put content behind paywalls in order to survive?

An Introduction to PPC Landing Pages: Dos and Don’ts

Plane Landing

In simple terms, a PPC landing page is a web page which a user ‘lands’ on subsequent to clicking a paid ad. Essentially, there are two broad types of landing pages; click through pages and lead generation pages. Click through pages are more often than not used in ecommerce with the intention of moving a user further down the purchasing funnel. They use a CTA such as ‘add to cart’ to achieve this. Lead generation pages usually include a form designed to collect personal information about a user in order to market a product or service to that user at a later date.

The Faster, The Better

It takes someone just seconds to make a strong first impression and the same can be said when considering landing pages. This is just one reason why it is important to provide a fast loading time when navigating a user to your landing page, not to mention the fact that it improves your Google Quality Score, effectively increasing your ad position for a lower cost. Providing a fast loading time keeps the user engaged and reduces your bounce rate.

Keep it Simple

Avoid making your landing page look ‘busy’ with distracting videos and pictures because that is exactly what they will do; distract the user. Living in such a fast paced society, it’s important not to bog the user down with excessive amounts of text and jargon, they must be able to understand the message you’re trying to convey in a relatively short space of time. Besides, lots of images and videos will only slow your load time down anyway.

Relevancy is Key

It’s very unlikely that you’d walk to an aisle in a supermarket marked ‘bacon’ only to find boxes of eggs there instead. It would be pretty disappointing too. Don’t make the same mistake with your landing page. Keep it relevant to what your ad has proposed and re-emphasise its message; do not disappoint. Don’t send the user to the homepage, instead, take them to the purchase page and provide them with more information about your product or service. By keeping your ad relevant, you’ll lower your CPC, increase conversions and ultimately, improve ROI.

Provide a Clear and Simple CTA

Don’t hide it below the fold or with mouseover effects. Champion it. It’s important that the user knows what to do next and it’s your job to guide them to the action you want them to take. This being said, what you don’t want is for the user to feel too ‘pushed’ or committed. Use a ‘soft’ CTA, for example, ‘add to cart’ rather than a CTA such as ‘submit’ which may discourage the user.

And Finally, Test, Test, Test!

Your landing page is an important element to your campaign so it’s important to test it as often as is necessary. This can be achieved in two ways; A/B testing and multivariate testing;

A/B testing allows you to test two entirely different pages against each other to determine which one is more effective in terms of performance.

Multivariate testing lets you test a number of components within a landing page at one time to determine which combination of components are most effective. Anything can be tested from CTA variations and navigation to headlines and copy. Testing your landing page is vital in determining what works well, what doesn’t, what to use and what to avoid.

Labels and AdWords Editor: A Match Made in Heaven

Label

Today at fusion the PPC team is excited about something which will make our lives that little bit easier – the new AdWords editor update.

What makes this update extra special is one of the 9 new features; the integration of AdWords labels with editor, something we have been hankering after for years since their introduction.

Labels can be applied to ads, keywords, ad groups and campaigns, and have a number of uses. Tagging up similar themes can make bulk edits easier, be used as automation criteria and help with data analysis. But their manual application has hampered this feature reaching its true potential.

So what are you waiting for, upgrade now!

Other features integrated into the new editor upgrade include:
Upgraded URLs
Call-only Ads
New filtering methods and improved search
Mobile App Targeting
Etc.

For the full list see AdWords Editor Help

What has Google Website Call Conversions Done For Us?

Google

Google and call data go way back. I can vaguely remember a number of phone services and offerings in the years leading up to the now well established call and location extension options (though not well enough to go into here, which says something about their success).

The latest addition to their call measurement offering is something they are calling Website Call Conversions, and it adds another valuable layer of understanding for any business with a phone.

So how does Google’s call-based offering break down? What do Website Call Conversions bring to the table? And how do you get the most out of these tools?

First to cover off the classics:

Location Extensions

These are a simple way to include your business contact information alongside your ads. You can either input the info manually for each campaign, or link up to your Google My Business account (formerly Google Places, formerly Google Local) to dynamically include the location most relevant to a user – based on their IP or location settings.

As you can see above what a user then sees on desktop is the address of their nearest branch and the phone number for this branch. Clicking on the address will take them to Google Maps with that location flagged, and be reported as a ‘get location details’ click.

On mobile they will see an abbreviated version of the address and a call button. Clicking on get directions or the call button are pretty self-explanatory.

Within the ad extensions tab you will see the usual data for activity on each location. However in classic Google fashion what you are seeing is data for when that extension was shown, not clicks on the extension itself, so not massively useful beyond knowing which locations are being triggered most frequently.

However, in click type reports (available under segments) you can see clicks on ‘get direction’, ‘get location details’ and ‘mobile clicks-to-call’, so you can measure this right down to keyword level.

Call Extensions

The difference made by opting in to these on top of location extensions is pretty subtle. Your ads will look the same, but what you can do with the phone number gets a bit more sophisticated.

You need to input a specific number rather than using your feed, but you can opt to use a Google forwarding number which provides richer reporting around things like call length and location of caller, as well as allowing you to feed this data into the conversions column.

You can opt to show the number on just mobile devices and even schedule when to show the number around business hours.

The only potential negative is that you are then using ‘national’ number, rather than a location specific one as with location extensions, so it is important to weigh up the pros and cons, and think about why people will be calling.

Also, it’s worth being aware that location extensions won’t always appear with a phone number, so it’s worth having call extensions in place to increase the chances of this.

Finally, having both running can cause some confusion in your reports. In the campaign type for example you might see 100 click to call clicks, but only 10 calls in the call detail report. This is because 90 of those clicks were on the location extension call button.

So, what about…

Website Call Conversions

This is actually a slightly different offering and can be used alongside both of the above. Essentially by adding a piece of code to your site you can apply a Google forwarding number (as with call extensions) to the number on your site itself.

What this means is that as with more sophisticated and expensive call tracking solutions you can serve up a unique number to Adwords traffic, allowing you to attribute all calls on that number right back to the keyword that drove them to the site.

This has been around in beta for a fair while, as evidenced by some of the testimonials on Google’s blog, but now that it is publicly available everyone can benefit.

It will no doubt start impacting call tracking software companies’ revenues – another casualty of the Google Goliath! It will also help strengthen the case for investment in Adwords which will certainly not be something lost on Google!

How Longer Journeys To Sale Are Driving Up Marketing Costs

Maze

In response to an emerging trend amongst our clients we have done some in-depth research into changes in buyer behaviour over the last 12 months. This identified a significant increase in the volume of site visits customers are making before their eventual purchase, and this has major repercussions on marketing costs and strategy.

The key findings were that 80% of clients are seeing an increase in the length of the path to purchase, with journeys of 12 visits or more seeing the biggest growth at 85%.

This potentially leads to increased marketing costs, as you could be paying more times to get the same visitor back to your site in order to convert them. Businesses need to respond by developing a considered strategy for both reducing traffic costs for returning visitors and removing as many reasons as possible for users to leave your site before committing to purchase.

Head over to Econsultancy to read the full article on our research and recommendations for how clients should be responding to this little discussed trend.

 

Updated stats from Q4 2015

We revisited this analysis to see how things have changed in the last 18 months, and the results are quite surprising.

Only 40% of clients showed an increase in path to purchase between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, with journeys of 12 visits or more up just 16%.

So have increases in journey length slowed?

It’s difficult to say, as we looking at increasingly disjointed data. Over the entire period from Q1 2013 to Q4 2015 desktop traffic dropped from an average of 70% of total traffic across the clients analysed to just 40%. So with cross-device measurement still not nailed in Google Analytics we are effectively looking at 3 silos of traffic across desktop, tablet and mobile. How many visits are really going on behind each of these segments?

With device fragmentation increasing but journey to conversion relatively static according to the data it certainly appears that journeys must be getting longer in the real world. One thing is certainly clear – the need for reliable cross-device tracking has never been greater.

The Big Paid Search ‘Not Provided’ Panic

Shredded paper

 

After whisperings within the industry, which began a few weeks ago, Google finally announced last Monday (April 14th) that they would be removing the query from Adwords referral data, preventing analytics packages from being able to see the specific terms sending you Google PPC traffic.

In many ways this move was inevitable as Google continued to come under fire for their apparent double-standards around user privacy – allowing query information to be passed for paid search activity (which makes Google money), but not for organic search activity (which does not make Google money).

Widespread panic and confusion!

This move was both preceded by and greeted with the usual sensationalism and scare-mongering by many industry sources. This is perhaps not surprising given the impact of Google’s changes last year, which blocked all organic search keyword data and left many SEO practitioners if not totally blind, then certainly partially sighted, whilst they adapted to new ways of working.

The truth is still out there…

The reality and the impact of what has happened are thankfully much less catastrophic. Pretty much all of your data is still there if you know where to look, and how to set up your Adwords account.
As Google are no doubt well aware, completely removing advertiser’s visibility of what is and isn’t working for them would be a fairly rapid route to reduced spend, less confidence and, ultimately, less profit for Google. Last week’s move is a long way from that kind of paid keyword data blackout.

What have we lost?

The critical distinction is that Google no longer passes QUERY data. This is the exact term a user searched for before clicking your ad.

So for example, if you are bidding on the keyword ‘cheap holidays’ on phrase match your ad could be triggered by queries like ‘cheap holidays to France’, ‘buy cheap holidays’ etc.

Previously you could see both keyword data and query data in 3rd party reports, so you could see that it was actually the query ‘buy cheap holidays’ that drove a sale. From now you will only have keyword data, so you will only know that a sale was driven by the phrase match keyword ‘cheap holidays’.

As a result those most impacted by this change will be the accounts which are heavily reliant on small numbers of phrase or broad match terms.

In the above example if you had ‘buy cheap holidays’ created as a keyword in your account, as opposed to simply being triggered by the keyword ‘cheap holidays,’ then you would have full visibility of it within keyword reporting.

What do we still have?

You can still pass KEYWORD data, along with campaign data, ad copy data, match type and more within the URL of your keyword. So whilst you can no longer see the exact search query used in 3rd party systems you can still see the keyword in your account that triggered your ad.

It’s also important to remember nothing is being lost from within Adwords. This change is around security and privacy and as data in Adwords is anonymous and proprietary there are theoretically no issues here.

Getting the most out of what we have

For most advertisers everything they need in terms of queries is still available within Adwords itself. All of your search query data is available through search term reports as before, and if you want to ally this with conversion data you just need to set up Adwords conversion tracking.

Adwords Search Query Report

Search query report

For any reporting, or use of query data outside the Adwords eco-system, keyword data should be more than sufficient, but to get the most detailed picture you should aim to make your keyword data as close to search query data as possible…

Improving your keyword data

At Fusion Unlimited we have long been advocates of detailed account structures and maximising use of exact match keywords. If everything in your account were set up on exact match then, effectively, your keyword and query would be one and the same thing, and this change would have no impact on your data. The issue with that approach is that you would be limiting your access to the long-tail and opportunities for account expansion.

The best compromise is to use phrase match and even broad match in a controlled manner alongside exact match. You can then use the search query report within Adwords to mine new keywords and add these to your account on exact match, allowing you to pass this data to any third party systems you are using, as well as a host of other benefits that come with more finely-tuned keyword targeting.

The more you grow your exact match keyword portfolio, and reduce the volumes you are driving through phrase and broad match terms, the closer your keyword data will be to the search query data.

Match Types Explained

Match types explained

 

Image sources:

Shredder – https://www.flickr.com/photos/85638163@N00/

Match types explained – Adwords Help Centre