The Google Ads Keyword Search Terms report is a valuable tool that paid keyword search advertisers use often as a way to determine if the keywords that are triggering ads to show in are effective in driving qualified traffic to their website.
In a nutshell, this report allows advertisers to see a list of specific search terms that people have used, and that resulted in the ads being shown. One of the most common uses of the Keyword Search Terms report is to find non-relevant keywords, which are then added as negatives, preventing the ads from being shown, saving advertising dollars, and improving the overall performance of the campaigns.
Given how helpful the Keyword Search Terms report is, it was surprising to hear from Google that, starting in September 2020 (that is, right now), the report will only include terms that a “significant” number of users searched for, even if a term received a click. For this reason, advertisers may now see fewer terms in your report.
In simpler terms, advertisers will have reduced visibility into which search queries trigger their ads, even if they incur a click or conversion. That is not good news.
If you are asking why Google is making this change to the Search Terms report now, know that you are not alone. We still do not have clear answers on why this is happening now. Google is citing privacy concerns, saying “to maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data”, which is, to a certain extent, a valid point.
Still, Google’s decision is not helping advertisers to determine with the greatest accuracy the keywords that are working vs. the ones that are not, leaving them feeling they have less control over their accounts. That’s definitely a concern.
Beyond advertising, the other concern is that this change will possibly have an impact on research for SEO, as well as cross-collaboration between SEO & SEM, which is a common practice at our agency, where meaningful keyword data is shared across teams with different expertise (e.g. SEM and SEO) as a way to approach the “search universe” in the most effective holistic way.
We will continue to monitor the impact of this sudden change and we’ll make sure to provide marketers and advertisers with updates as they become available.
If you have further questions or need assistance in adjusting your digital marketing strategy, please email us at [email protected],