Google seems to be rewriting the rules once again, and this time they have caused quite a stir in the industry. Soon, the Search term report that we know and love will become a lot less useful.
Only Search Terms that “were searched by a significant number of users” will show in the report. The scary thing is that there has been no clarification on what “significant” means in the eyes of Google. Some of the data we rely on for optimisation is going to be hidden, and we are yet to know exactly how much (early case studies have shown up to 25% of lost data).
As you can imagine, we have been scrambling all over the Internet to get to the bottom of exactly what this means for our optimisation process.
The good news is that we still have full control over how we set up our accounts, and which keywords/match types we choose to use. Thankfully, we haven’t relied on the use of Broad Match keywords to drive volume in our campaigns. The best strategy has always been to set up accounts using a comprehensive list of Phrase and Exact match keywords, so that most of the click volume is captured from well structured ad groups with highly relevant ad copy. This strategy is now more important than ever, as Broad Match traffic can no longer be improved by way of negative keyword research. Unfortunately the questionable traffic that broad matches generate will remain unknown indefinitely.
We wish that Google would find other ways to increase annual revenue, as this comes as a direct blow to the transparency that is required of a publisher of this size. So much for their founding philosophy of “don’t be evil”.
At Sprocket, we will continue to do the best it can with the tools at hand, even if they have been somewhat blunted by this announcement. In reality, the fundamentals of Google Ads optimisation is still the same; review search term data regularly and make data-driven decisions wherever possible.