Google Ads Limits Search Terms Reporting for Privacy Reasons

Google has announced that it’ll soon stop showing search terms that triggered advertisers’ ads when there isn’t “significant” data for those search terms.

Google states that “We are updating the search terms report to only include terms that were searched by a significant number of users. As a result, you may see fewer terms in your report going forward.”

Google spokesperson also states that “In order to maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data, we have made changes to our Search Terms Report to only include terms that a significant number of users searched for. We’re continuing to invest in new and efficient ways to share insights that enable advertisers to make critical business decisions.”

The current definition of “significant” is undetermined. Advertisers can currently see search terms that have generated one impression or click in the search term reporting. It’ll highly unlikely that we can see data for this type of low volume search terms going forward.

This change will impact advertisers in three ways:

1) Less insights on consumer behaviours and inferences

Data from the search term reporting lets advertisers know which search queries that customers use to trigger their ads. These search queries allow advertisers to gain insights on what the customers are thinking, specific features that shoppers are seeking, and more. For example, if you’re Volkswagen Canada and you’re bidding on the keyword phrase “VW Jetta” and see that there’s an upward trend for the search term “VW Jetta heated seats”, you can use this information and insights to optimize your business operation and marketing campaigns to effectively engage with shoppers who are looking for VW Jetta.

2) Fewer keywords to add to the negative keyword list

The search term reporting is an excellent resource to find negative keywords because it shows advertisers search queries that are somewhat related but not closely related to advertisers’ products or services. When advertisers identify search terms that aren’t closely relevant to their ads and products or services, advertisers can add the search terms to the negative keyword list so advertisers’ ads don’t appear search terms in the negative keyword list. For example, if a self storage company adds “RV storage” in its negative keyword list, its ads won’t appear when “RV storage” related search terms. Adding irrelevant search terms to the negative keyword list helps advertisers avoid wasting ad dollars.

With the reduction in visibility of search terms in the search term reporting, advertisers can’t view irrelevant keywords that don’t have significant data. This change will limit advertisers’ abilities to add irrelevant keywords to the negative list and avoid paying for unrelated clicks.

3) Fewer keywords to use for SEO

Search term reporting is also a marvellous resource for identifying keywords for SEO. The report shows different queries that online shoppers use for to conduct product research or searches. Advertisers can use these keywords on their websites to improve their search rankings for those terms.

That said, the limitation of visibility to the search term reporting will reduce advertisers’ visibilities to search terms that don’t have significant data. This limitation may prevent advertisers from optimizing for low volume but very specific, niche long-tail keywords.

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