Google AdWords are lifting the veils of secrecy

Posted by Dave CollinsGoogle Ads

Okay so I’m getting a little carried away. Google are lifting one of their layers of secrecy within AdWords. Allow me to explain.

Google have a complex and incredibly effective strategy in place within their AdWords system.

With one hand they calm their advertisers down and gently point them towards the information they need. And with the other hand they hurl massive quantities of information at their advertisers, confusing them and leaving them drowning in data.

And at the same time, behind the scenes, they are also quietly hiding away some of the information that advertisers would find incredibly useful in managing their accounts.

An example:

Many searchers will click on multiple ads from their results. They click on one ad, the results aren’t what they’re looking for. They go back, click the second ad and so on.

Wouldn’t it be useful to know which ads people clicked on and then remained on your website? Wouldn’t it also be useful to know how long people remained on your website before going back and clicking on your competitor’s ads?

Google know this, but for obvious reasons won’t share this information with their advertisers.

Another example is the search query report. If you’ve used this report, and I hope you have, you’ll have noticed the teeth-grinding “other unique entries“. Well your teeth grinding days may be over:

From Inside AdWords:

If you’ve used the Search Query Performance report before, you may have noticed that some of your traffic was grouped under a line item called “other unique queries.” This line encompassed queries with very low volume, often occurring triggering your ad only one or two times. However, some advertisers found that a significant portion of their spend was grouped under this heading, which made it difficult to manage keyword variations.

Starting today, the Search Query Performance report will show all queries that resulted in a click, where the user has not specifically blocked their referrer URL.

In the interests of not criticising a gift, I won’t dwell on their idea that this only applied to “queries with very low volume” – WHO ARE THEY TRYING TO FOOL? But this is a great step forward, and anyone managing an AdWords account should find this to be very useful indeed.

So why did they do it? The same blog entry pointed out that this information was already within server logs and/or Google Analytics, so Google were forced into lifting this particular veil by the use of their own software. Continuing to hide this information for so long was ridiculous.

One more thing:

As a result of this update, you will likely see longer lists of queries in your Search Query Performance reports, many of which will have very low traffic. We encourage you to focus your decisions about the performance of your keyword variations on those variations that occur most frequently and have a significant amount of performance data.

Remember that the people advising you to do this are the people who take your money from you. It’s worth remembering that the idea of the Long Tail applies equally well to Google AdWords. And with the new enhanced search query reports, that tail just grew to be very long indeed.

Enhanced Search Query Performance reports