Google Reduces Search Term Visibility in Ads

Losing some of the search term functionality will change the way we run campaigns...

On 1st September 2020, Google announced that the search terms report within Google Ads will now be showing only the search terms that reach a certain volume threshold. This reduced visibility for Google ad campaigns has caused a lot of concern among advertisers as well as agencies, who rely on the search term report’s insights to optimise their Google Ads performance.

Just for information, A Google Ads search term report will show you exactly what someone has typed into their PC or mobile device when they have clicked on your ad. It also allows you to see exactly which search terms triggered your ads to appear. And companies such as Sokada Ltd will rely on all these searches to ensure that there are no wasted clicks for our clients. Using this search term report will give us the opportunity to drill down to exact terminology and add in many negative keywords, to ensure these searches are not clicked upon again. Especially if the campaign uses broad match modifier or more open search.

Statement from Google

“Starting September 2020, the search terms report only includes terms that a significant number of users searched for, even if a term received a click. You may now see fewer terms in your report.”

The Impact of Losing this Important Keyword Information

One may think that low-volume, keywords aren’t important—after all, they’re irrelevant. But every single click is possible ad spend wasted. Several low-volume terms can really add up.

The resulting reduced visibility into search queries has many advertisers worried, as this report is so important for Google Ads optimisation.

  • It inhibits small campaign and ad group changes that could possibly create overspending.
  • It makes keyword mining more tricky and renders broad match unusable.
  • It can lead to lower bidding and reduced conversion rates.

Reduced Transparency by Google

This now means that advertisers will need to start using more exact match variations in order to ensure they are only showing for exactly the right search queries. Or reporting will become useless and we will be stabbing in the dark when using certain match types. Unless the advertiser is happy to spend their money in the hope that their ads will be automatically shown to the right people!

You Still Need to Work Hard on Your Campaigns

  • You now need to keep a closer eye on your campaigns.
  • Change your keyword to exact match if you feel more comfortable – although this will lose you some of the smaller search terms and long tail keywords.
  • Start to use Dynamic Search Ads a bit more as they will be used, based on the content within your landing pages. Dynamic Search Ads not only helps you cover your bases, but their search query reports can also help reveal where your traditional search campaigns have gaps in their keyword coverage.
  • Although the data is not now available, Google will still be using it. So if we want to optimise for that data, we will need to think about letting Google optimise for this traffic. Using smart bidding strategies, such as enhanced CPC or target CPA.
  • Or you could always try and broaden your skillset by trying some different ways of advertising your product or service. For example would your business benefit from Facebook marketing? Make sure your SEO is at the top of it’s game (also great for Google Ads). Perhaps a spot of email marketing would be good. There are other ways to get your business out there and seen by potential buyers….