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90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

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# 1
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In most of my accounts, when you look at a search term report, typically 90% of the impressions are for "Other Search Terms"  - So if you had 10,000 impressions, only 1,000 of the search terms that generated those impressions are displayed.

 

Now I know the causes for a minority of these are due to privacy policy, blocked URL, etc.  But that is just a minority reason that Google is willing to officially state.  The cause for the majority is that they didn't generate any clicks-thrus.  

 

HOWEVER, There are several search terms in the report with typically only 1-2 impressions that are showing 0 clicks. (This was in a report with 3,000 total impressions, showing 129 search terms)  I see these are only exact match which I understand that exact match is only used to calculate quality scores. But isn't overall account performance factored into quality score?

 

Wouldn't it be useful to see all search terms anyway to identify negative keywords and bring overall account CTR up?

 

It is almost like the majority of the 90% search terms that are obscured just because they didn't generate click-thrus give the effect of making the advertiser cast a wider net than had they seen the full report.  You end up only learning of a bad phrase or broad match search term used AFTER you have paid for a click.  So in the beginning, you will pay a high cost for discovering negative keywords that you didn't think of initially.

 

If you could see all search terms, you could more quickly identify negative search terms, saving money, and bringing CTR up.  But I don't think the Accountants at Google are preoccupied with helping advertisers save money. Smiley Happy

 

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner

Impressions don't cost anything, so you're not actually losing any money by not knowing all those thousands of irrelevant search queries. The broader a net you cast, the less detailed data you will get in return. If it's that big of a concern for you, the restrict match types and targeting to the point where your impression volume declines, and you are only targeting the most relevant exact match terms.

Tom

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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Yes, impressions don't cost anything but you missed my point.  Let's be REAL here.  First off, it's widely known amongst PPC and SEO professionals that long-tail keywords offer better value in that they are more targeted and typically have less competition so the CPC is typically lower.

 

Secondly, no one can think up all the possible long-tail keywords.  They only way to cover them all is to use phrase and broad match combined with a good extensive negative keyword list.  And no one can think up all the negative keywords right off the bat.

 

Really the major question here that no one seems to be able to give a logical answer that makes sense is, if Google has the impression data, why can't a customer download a complete search term report as opposed to only being abte to see 10%?  You can't identify new negative keywords until you actually see them in the report and that means until you've already paid for a click on one of them!  Don't tell me it's a 'bandwidth' or 'performance' issue as Google has the infrastructure to support it.

 

Just saying, don't use phrase and broad match is side stepping the question.

 

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

Badged Google Partner
# 4
Badged Google Partner

Your question was about impressions, not clicks. Again, you don't pay for impressions! 

 

No, long tail terms don't generate a better return - There's always a handful of exact match search queries that generate the most revenue.

 

If your account structure is so large that you don't know which search queries are actually generating the revenue, then you have a problem.

 

Anyone can add thousands of keywords to an account, a real professional knows where every last cent in adbuy is going, and where every cent of revenue is coming in from.

 

If you can't manage your structure, then like I said in my last response, change your structure to something you can actually manage.

Tom

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

[ Edited ]
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# 5
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You're not addressing the original question.  Celebird has come the closest to simply say essentiall.. no one knows and Google won't tell.  

 

Say there are 500 possible negative terms.  Say you think of 300 of them when you create your account.  Say the remaining negative terms will take 6 months to eventually get 1 click to appear on the search term report.  Say the average cpc of those search terms with the 200 negative terms is $5.  That's 200x$5 = $1,000 in wasted ad spend when if you could have seen those terms in the search term report when they got impressions, BEFORE you paid for a click, you could have saved yourself $1,000.

 

No "real professional" can guess all the possible negative search terms. And you're also not getting as many conversions if you aren't using carefully targeted phrase and modified broad match combined with a comprehensive negative keyword list.  You simply can't guess everything a person will search for that could result in a click-thru and conversion. So you have to PAY to find the rest of the negative terms over time because of Google's "internal business decision" which of course when it is in the interest of them making money and you wasting money, they are not going to comment. End of story.  

 

I put the question in to Adwords support, "Why can't I download the search terms in the 'other terms' category not diplayed in the Search Terms report that don't violate your privacy policy?"  Will be interesting to see what their "official" BS response is.

 

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

To conclude;

This request, to disclose "other search terms" has been raised to Google dozens of times during the years. (And I recall the first time it was discussed with Google's team back in 2011...). Google is firm and confident (and in several occasions Google showed examples that cannot be posted publicly) that those search terms can reveal  PII. (Personally identifiable information). Hence, they are aggregated under "other search terms". 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

Badged Google Partner
# 7
Badged Google Partner

Don't insult me. You can keep complaining about something you can't change. Or you can do something about it.

 

Tom

90% Missing Impressions in Search Term Report - What's the REAL Story?

[ Edited ]
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# 8
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It has also been widely concluded that only a very small portion of the undisclosed search terms fall under their privacy policy regarding personally identifiable information in the search.  This is a bogus reason for 90%+ of the undisclosed search terms.  So that reason is really a non-factor in the big picture.  I've seen the same case in multiple accounts in widely varying industries.  The percentage of search terms with someone's phone number, SSN, address, or name, etc, is realistically probably in the single digit percentage range which falls way short of the close to 90% of terms that are undisclosed in the report.

 

The "significance" reason is a much more applicable argument but the reasoning behind it is in my opinion intentionally ambiguous but at the end of the day, this is data regarding the customer's account, and the customer should decide what data is significant to them or not.  Apparently this is where Google and I disagree.

 

Overall, this is an uncomfortable subject for many because it is revealing ad spend waste that they can only avoid by only using exact match keywords.