Google’s Ads Developer Blog has confirmed that Google is planning to stop passing search query data on paid search clicks, just as it has done to clicks on organic search results.
As we wait for further details about this move, this new development seems to have little effect on reporting and the optimization techniques that we use.
There is a possibility of losing some accuracy and efficiency when reporting or tracking at a search term level but the data will still be available in AdWords for keyword research and negative mining. In addition, advertisers will still have access to the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report. This means they still have access to data that they can use to optimise and improve their landing pages and SEO campaigns.
So, what do we lose?
This is probably the end of Matched Search Query in Google Analytics. For more than two years now, Google has been removing SEO keyword data and the proportion of keywords marked “not provided” has increased and is now approximately over 80% of searches. If Google will remove the query from the referrer, it will not be part of AdWords auto-tagging in Google Analytics.
Matched Search Query is useful in Several Google Analytics reports including its Multi-Channel Funnels suite, where you can find out how a paid query impacts the performance of non-paid channels.
Why take advantage of “not provided” paid search?
At this point, you don’t have to worry about this new development. If you use Google Analytics data to manage your paid advertising, you also need to have AdWords Conversion Tracking setup. By doing this, you will still see conversion data in an aggregated form in your “AdWords Search Terms” report. You don’t have to rely on fragmented Matched Search Query” data.
Matt Ackley, CMO of Marin software confirms that users of third party management and tracking solutions need not worry. The “not provided” paid search will not have a big impact on optimisation processes and campaign management. Ackley explains that most advertisers bid on keywords but search queries are used mainly for keyword expansion and negative keyword discovery.
Ackley also pointed out that the “not provided” paid search will impact the search queries and not keywords since keyword data is separate from search query data.
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