Mo’ Search Terms, Mo’ Data: Google’s Privacy Expansion and How to Use It For Better Results

What are Search Queries?

A search query is a keyword or keyword phrase that users enter into a search engine. It’s important to know how to interpret the search terms to be able to use them in your favor.

A user’s intent can be found in their search query – are they looking for information, a specific product, or a service? From a paid-search perspective, these are the most important pieces of the puzzle in understanding exactly what your audience is looking for and how best to target that effectively. 

Google processes roughly 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year (Hubspot.com). With that reach, Google controls more than 92% of the search engine market share worldwide, making it a great place for advertising.

Within the Google Ads interface, advertisers can view the search terms that triggered their ads in the search terms report, negative irrelevant search terms, and add good keywords for better performance. In order to get the best results in a Google Search campaign, advertisers should be analyzing their search terms on a regular basis and incorporating relevant keyword themes into their accounts.

What are the recent changes to Google’s Search Queries?

First, a little history: in September of 2020, Google removed search queries from their reporting, citing privacy concerns. On average, from 25% to 60% of search query data was hidden in our client’s accounts. But as of September 9, 2021, Google has expanded its Search Terms Report and Dynamic Search Ads Search Terms Report to meet new privacy thresholds.

“These thresholds ensure user anonymity by only reporting on terms that have seen sufficient search volume across all Google searches.”

According to Google

With this expansion, they’re able to show advertisers more search term data to help us identify even more relevant keywords and determine what’s driving performance so we can optimize our accounts accordingly. This expanded data can now be seen dating back to search queries you received starting from February 1, 2021. Below is an example of what it may look like in your account. 

In the first report from January 1 – January 31, 2021, you can see that the impressions are 1,343,184, yet the total impressions for the visible search terms is 179,258, meaning only about 13% of the search terms are visible to the advertiser.

For the same client, for the date range of February 1 – February 28, 2021, there is a significant increase in visible search terms. These numbers reflect that roughly 57% of the search terms are visible.

Moving from 13% to 57% with the new privacy threshold is a huge difference and is very beneficial for the advertiser, as there’s now that much more data to analyze. Of course, this number will vary, but with the new privacy threshold, more data will be available for all advertisers to use. The increase will give advertisers deeper insight into their customer’s intent and further their ability to capitalize on the best search terms.

While the increase has been good, we’d still like to have visibility into all the results. Better data makes for better decisions for our clients.

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