Google is Taking Our Data…. Kinda

By now you’ve probably heard that Google announced its expansion of secure search to clicks on paid ads. So what does this mean for AdWords advertisers? In the grand scheme of things, not a whole lot. As Larry Kim pointed out in Search Engine Watch, paid search query data isn’t going away any time soon. We will still have the Search Terms report in the Google AdWords interface, and will keep the ability to pull search query data via the AdWords API. So why is everyone running around like a chicken with its head cut off?

AdWords Search Query Data

In reality most people who heard the announcement immediately went right into the ‘sky is falling’ apocalypse mode instead of waiting to see how the full scope of this roll out would occur. Remember Office Space and the ‘Jump to Conclusions’ mat? Well, that would have been the perfect product to launch this week. If you’re interested in some more realistic conclusions,¬†Ginny Marvin at MarketingLand does an excellent job clarifying and summarizing Google’s move to secure paid search queries.

What About My Search Query Onsite Data?

Now you’re thinking like a PPC Jedi master. With search query data no longer passing through to Google Analytics, we lose the ability to see micro-level statistics such as bounce rate, pages per visit, and, most importantly, conversions of unique queries that may have been captured by a broad or phrase-matched keyword. Analyzing all of this data paints a picture of not only that unique query, but queries that may be similar thus leading to conclusions (yes, more conclusions) about whether that type of phrase is in fact relevant or irrelevant to the your PPC campaign goals.

So what should you do now that the Google is taking away your search query data in Google Analytics? Start archiving, baby!

We’ve put together two quick and easy Google Analytics custom reports that you can add to your own GA account that will allow you to easily download and archive matched search query data. Anticipating the tracking and statistical differences between lead generation oriented websites versus e-commerce focused sites, we’ve developed a Google Analytics custom report for each.

Matched Search Query Report for Lead Generation

Matched Search Query Report for E-Commerce

If you haven’t added a custom report to your Google Analytics account before, it’s a very simple process:

  1. Click on either of the links above
  2. Add the custom report to either a specific Google Analytics profile or every profile you have access to
  3. Adjust your data range for maximum data and download your statistics

There is no doubt that we are about to lose valuable analytics data that can have a significant impact on the decisions we make in optimizing and managing AdWords campaigns. Is this the end of search query data in general? NO. There is still plenty of data left to utilize and analyze in making sound, data-driven decisions for campaigns. So, go archive that juicy Google Analytics matched search query data and start mining it while it is available.