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Transcript: Google Ads PPC News SEARCH TERMS REPORT TO BE RESTRICTED!
Let me just put this out there. This is the single most selfish, untransparent and biased thing Google have ever done. I’m Darren Taylor of thebigmarketer.com. I’m a PPC and SEO veteran with over 10 years’ experience in strategy for PPC and SEO. My job is to make you an expert. As you guys are well aware, Google have made a number of changes to the Google Ads platform that most often favor themselves as opposed to favoring advertisers so they think of themselves more than the advertiser themselves.
A perfect example of this is a few years back, maybe in 2014 or so, they changed exact match keywords to include close variants. Meaning advertisers had to be a lot more careful with the kinds of search terms that their exact match traffic was generating. That didn’t help advertisers. It helped Google. Unfortunately, guys, I’ve got news for you today and I think this is the biggest change Google have done in their favor against advertisers. That is Google have made a huge change to the search terms report where they’re deciding not to share the data of low volume search terms, meaning any terms as Google says with significantly less data won’t be shown on the report, meaning that advertisers could miss a bunch of searches and get no visibility on those searches.
Here’s the statement from Google. Google says, “In order to maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data, we have made changes to our search terms report to only include terms that a significant number of users searched for. We’re continuing to invest in new and efficient ways to share insights that enable advertisers to make critical business decisions.” All I heard there was corporate spiel trying to get around the fact they are restricting the data that users get to make those sensible decisions in accounts.
By them stating that they’re going to make changes in the future that’ll help businesses make better decisions, they’ve taken a piece of data away so I don’t understand the whole concept of that statement. In my opinion, this is the biggest thing Google have done that will negatively impact an advertiser’s ROI. Let’s get into the specifics around why I think this is a terrible, terrible decision. Google says they will only share search terms that generate a significant amount of user data. The question around all of this hinges on that one word. What is significant?
Let’s take a little look and understand the implications of this and what significant could mean but before I continue please let me know in the comments, question of the day, do you think this is a huge change for Google that will negatively impact campaigns or am I getting angry at nothing? Is it fine? Is it okay? Am I overblowing things and blowing things out of proportion? Let me know in the comments. On with the video.
Let’s start with the bar at the lowest. What is the lowest threshold of data that Google could be eliminating? Well, that is any search term in your search term report that has one click and one impression. One click and one impression is pretty much the lowest term you’re going to see in your search terms report in terms of what’s been spending your money on Google. Imagine if Google make this change. We know for sure that terms with one click and one impression would be eliminated because that is not significant. If Google are going to remove volume, they’re going to start at the bottom and that is the very bottom.
What are the implications of that change to remove that threshold of keyword? Well I’m going to tell you this, if you look at your search terms report, I guarantee you you’ll have a ton of terms in there over the last 30 days that have had one click and one impression or there and thereabouts. Maybe one click and four impressions, one click and three impressions, whatever, either way it’s a significant proportion of the clicks you’re getting on Google. If you’re spending the money to get those clicks, that long tail of all those search terms that get one click, you need to understand what they are.
How else are you going to optimize your spend if a percentage of your spend, and in quite significant cases, a large proportion of that spend is hidden from you, what the hell are you supposed to do? Let me just put this out there. This is the single most selfish, untransparent and biased thing Google have ever done on this platform. Every other change they’ve made that have helped them more than the advertiser can be overcome. Example I mentioned at the beginning of this video was exact match keyword example. You can overcome that with a good strategy funnily enough around checking your search terms or you could use scripts if you want to be more advanced and automate the process of eliminating those closed variants.
But this change cannot be overcome. There’s no way you can get the data once Google have removed it. You might think again as I said in my question of the day whether I’m blowing this way out of proportion. Here’s an example of exactly why this isn’t blown out of proportion because at the very highest level, this can result in millions and millions of dollars of wasted ad spend. Check this out. This is a tweet that went out on the day Google made this announcement. It’s from an advertiser on Google.
His name is Collin Slattery and he’s an advertiser spending about 20k per month and he said on Twitter, he has 120 grand in ad spend over the last 180 days. 10 click search terms in his search terms report took up $61,000 of his budget, $61,000 of his total ad budget. Five click search terms, $53,000 of his ad budget. That’s 44% and finally one click search terms in his search terms report took $36,000, which is 30% of his budget. That is a huge, huge amount in percentage terms.
Imagine having no visibility of £36,000 of ad spend. The whole point of Google Ads is so you get visibility. He says it’s entirely possible he would lose data for 51% of his ad spend and he says it’s absolutely outrageous. I completely agree with him. This is outrageous. People need to be accountable for the money they spend. You can’t have a platform of advertising where you cannot see where your ads served and how they served. It’s crucial to that trust and transparency Google sometimes speak so much of but they seem to have parked that aside in favor of generating more revenue.
Now I know I’ve said that about a number of changes in the past where Google have done things that in my opinion will increase their revenues, and they say that it helps advertisers. This is the first change where there is zero benefit to advertisers. They can’t even spin this with the exact match report side of things where they said you might miss out on searches with close variants. They can’t PR their way out of this. The only thing that is left to do is make sure you do really comprehensive keyword research when you launch a new campaign. Make sure you find out all of those terms that could potentially lead to irrelevant clicks.
I’ve linked up a video in the description below around negative keywords and some of the ideas around generating more of those for your campaigns before launch. Check that out below. Apart from that, the only thing we can do as advertisers is hope that this massive public backlash means Google roll back this change and decide against it but if you’re like me, you won’t be holding your breath.
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Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, please leave a like below. Let me know in the comments. Again question of the day, do you think I’m blowing this out of proportion or is my outrage justified? Let me know in the comments below. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across the channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video.