Pareto POV: Google Search Term Reports Gaining (& Losing) Data

Pareto Legal

June 5, 2023

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Author: Hayden Delia, Pareto PPC’s Account Director


Foreword

Last September, Google shook up the digital advertising landscape with its announcement that it would limit the amount of data available to advertisers in search term reports. This September, they made a similarly big announcement – except now, Google’s adding data to search term reports. In this POV, we’ll go over these changes and how they will affect our strategies going forward. The first big change is tied directly to Google’s news from a year ago: starting this winter, Google will remove all historical query data that doesn’t meet its “new privacy threshold” from search term reports. Removal will only be applied to data from before September of 2020, when Google’s new privacy policy was put in place. The second change is certainly a more positive one for advertisers: Google is expanding its search term reports to include query data for impressions without clicks. Before, we were only able to see data on search terms that actually received clicks, but now we’ll be able to look through data that isn’t getting clicked on, which can help us significantly improve campaign efficiency. This additional data will be shown for queries we started receiving this past February.

It’s also important to mention that Google is not changing its privacy policy. Google will still only provide reporting for terms that a “significant” number of people have searched for.

Fortunately, we do know when these changes are rolling out: expanded search term reports started on September 9th, and non-compliant data will be removed on February 1st, 2022.

Read Google’s announcement here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/11127882

Impact

Campaigns will be affected in a variety of ways including (but not limited to):

  1. Expanded search term data: Google is adding terms that received impressions but no clicks, expanding the total amount of data available to us.
  2. Additional historical data: We’ll have impression-without-click data from queries that have been searched since February of 2021 (as long as the queries fit Google’s privacy standards).
  3. Removal of some historical data after February 1st, 2022: Data on queries that don’t comply with Google’s new privacy threshold will be removed from September of 2020 and before.
  4. Privacy policies staying put: Google’s product manager made a point to remind advertisers that privacy standards are not changing and that all terms still need to be searched for by “a significant number of users” to be shown in reports. 
  5. We have time to adjust: Google has given advertisers about 5 months to plan and adjust before any data is removed

Next Steps/Action Items

  1. We’ll need to export historical data from before September of 2020 in order to not lose that data forever. We can still use that data into the future and Google is giving us ample time to make sure we have it saved.
  2. Start diving into the additional data Google is providing us on queries without clicks. We can gain valuable insight into what’s not working and will help us to build negative keyword lists, optimize spending, and create more efficient campaigns in general.

Sources:

https://searchengineland.com/google-search-terms-report-adds-historical-query-data-for-impressions-without-clicks-374323

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-ads-search-terms-report-more-query-data-32065.html

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