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How to Research Keywords Before Starting a Campaign

We recently made a change to Keyword Planner that shows search volume data ranges based on spend and how you use the tool. This change aims to prevent “bots” from submitting an overwhelming number of searches in Keyword Planner, which was slowing down the tool and occasionally causing errors that prevented people from using the tool.


We’ve heard your feedback that this limited view of search volume makes it difficult to plan new Search Network campaigns. In these cases, we recommend taking advantage of the forecasting feature in Keyword Planner. While search volume gives you a sense of the market size, other settings such as bid, budget, device, and more, affect how much of this search volume a single advertiser can receive. Forecasts, on the other hand, let you customize these settings for a more comprehensive view of how keywords might perform.


For help setting a budget or deciding which keywords to use in your campaign, follow these steps:


  1. Sign in to your Adwords account at http://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
  2. Click Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category and enter or paste keywords related to your business or service
  3. Click Get ideas
  4. Find the keywords relevant to your business and click Add to plan on the right
  5. Click Review plan on the right to see forecasts for the keywords in your plan
    • From here, you can enter different bids and budgets and see detailed forecasts for your keywords, including impressions, clicks, and cost
    • You can also view forecasts by location or device to see how bid multipliers affect performance, or enter your expected conversion rates and values to maximize your return
    • To remove keywords and update your forecast, click the Keyword tab, check the boxes next to the keywords you’d like to remove, then selectSelected from the “Delete keywords” section of the Edit drop-down
    • If your forecasts don’t reflect your click or cost goals, select Back to search from the top right to find more keywords and add them to your plan
  6. Once you’re happy with your plan, you can download your forecasts or save the plan to your account


To learn more, watch our video, Using Keyword Planner in AdWords.

We hope the forecasting feature helps you get deeper insights into new keywords when planning your campaigns. We welcome your feedback as we continually improve Keyword Planner.

Mary W
September 2016

The detailed forecasts feature has always been there for anyone to use for planning campaigns.  Thank you for posting this for the new researchers and advertisers.

Tabitha L
September 2016

I tried to create an adwords account to use this tools feature, and it requires me to be running a campaign of some kind to use it.  From what I can tell.  Im okay with putting a card on file, but I want to use it for ideas first. I watched the video & it skips the step of actually creating the account itself.  Please help? 

CassieH Community Manager
September 2016

@Tabitha L You should not need an active account to use the forecasting feature in the steps above. However, if you've just created a brand new account and started the campaign creation "wizard" set-up, then you won't be able to exit that sign-up process. I'd recommend contacting the AdWords Team directly via phone, email, or chat and they may be able to help you bypass this.

Jay Y
September 2016

@Tabitha L


We ran into this problem as well. I thought my share that the "bid" settings associated with the "AdWord campaign can be set to a comfortable, or even lower than that in order to enable the tool.

Should we stop our campaign? I would then consider the share made by CassieH.


Hope this information proves useful! ( :




Paul P
October 2016

My concern is google is forcing new users to obtain confidential information (like bank account details of all things) before you can even see keyword planner.  This is disgraceful IMO.

Paul P
October 2016

If this change was really about "stopping bots", Google would just introduce a captcha, or block ip addresses or accounts generating too much traffic on the keyword planner.  As far as I know, none of those standard techniques were even tried.  

Sandra H
May 2017

We were advised about the Keywordplanner by our Uni prof and its exactly what I need for preparing our new company website. But I don't understand why I need to put an Ad in first and a budget + billing info, if for now, I only want to do research. I am way not ready to place an add - I need to research first on the keywords to know how to build my website in the right way. The uni prof said, you don't have to do an Ad first, but no matter if I put in Keyword planner or google adwords, it forces me to create a campaign, including billing details. ?? how does this work / supposedly you can research keywords without creating a campaign first (which would also be more logic - first research, than knowledgably create a campaign)>

Please advise how it works. Thank you!!

Mary W
May 2017
Create an ad campaign. During the set-up process Keyword Planner will
suggest keywords for you to choose from. Choose one or more of these. Also
choose a bid amount and daily budget. Google has to approve the ad before
it runs. Once the ad is approved, it can be paused so that it never runs
and you can then research keywords/.

You can also sign out of the email account you are using and start over
with Keyword Planner using a new gmail account. This time, click on "Skip
the Guided Setup" link before doing anything else which will enable you to
research keywords before starting an Ad campaign.


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