Google is planning to encrypt paid-search keyword referral data, meaning advertisers will no longer see the terms people have used to arrive on their sites via paid clicks on AdWords ads.
The move follows last years ‘keyword apocalypse’ that saw the seach giant hide keyword data from its free Google Analytics software, and marks a drive to protect consumer privacy at the expense of giving advertisers user data.
The encryption of organic search keyword referral data resulted in the amount of ‘not provided’ data hitting 80% last October.
However, many had turned to PPC data to help fill in some of the gaps in understanding that arose from the loss of SEO data – a tactic which is no longer possible.
In an announcement posted by Paul Feng, Product Management Director, AdWords on the Ads Developer Blog, the company states:
“Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com. Advertisers will continue to have access to useful data to optimize and improve their campaigns and landing pages. For example, you can access detailed information in the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report.”
The search term report still “lets you see search queries that generated ad clicks along with key performance data”. The search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools will continue to show aggregate information about the top 2,000 queries that generated organic clicks.
For marketers monitoring search terms users typed in before clicking on an AdWords ads, Google recommends the following:
• For generating reports or automating keyword management with query data, we suggest using the AdWords API Search Query Performance report or the AdWords Scripts Report service.
• For customizing landing pages, we suggest using the keyword that generated the ad click, rather than the query. The keyword and match type can be passed to your web server by using a ValueTrack parameter in your destination URLs.
Forward3D has provided some key trends for marketers looking to monitor keyword data.
• This announcement today mirror changes that were introduced last year to SEO traffic driven from the search engine.
• Previously, It was felt that user privacy concerns were being pushed aside for people who were prepared to pay Google for traffic. Today’s move seems to address these concerns, with paid and organic traffic now being treated equally.
• In reality the move changes very little with regards to what data advertisers see, as there’s a fundamental difference between organic and paid traffic.
• Google is only going to be withholding search term data, not keyword data, from third parties, meaning that the overall effect is likely to be minimal
• Advertisers and marketers will still be able to use third party tracking, optimisation and analytics software and continue to see most of the data they’re getting now; the only difference being that, for broad and phrase match terms, it will be impossible to identify precisely which search terms are driving clicks and conversions.
• For advertisers that do want to continue to access, and analyse, this search term data then Google has a solution; reports pulled from AdWords itself along with sales and leads tracked through AdWords Conversion Tracking (ACT), will continue to provide the same data as before, right down to search term level.
View the blog here