New Ways to See AdWords Search Query Terms

AdWords Report CenterAs part of Google’s phasing out of the AdWords Report Center, the traditional ‘Search Query Performance’ report is no longer available. But there are new and better ways to get this critical data!

Using Google AdWords reports to track performance of the keywords you are bidding on is fundamental to search marketing success, and the ease with which this can be done is a source of delight for search marketers, especially when compared to measuring traditional forms of advertising.  If you are bidding on ‘industrial supplies’, for example, it is easy to get metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, cost per conversion and then make decisions that will lead to better performance.

But most folks also realize the additional value of being able to look behind the scenes to see the actual search queries that users are typing in and using that information to refine campaigns.  Because if you are bidding on ‘industrial supplies’ on anything other than exact match, your ad will be showing up for a lot of terms beyond strictly ‘industrial supplies’. These could be: ‘cheap industrial supplies‘, ‘industrial supplies oregon‘, ‘industrial equipment and supplies‘, ‘industrial painting supplies‘ and thousands of other variations. The value of having this deeper insight into the terms triggering your ads is obvious.

Not so very long ago in the short history of search engine marketing, this was data was not as accessible as many would’ve liked, served up only in a special report, with large chunks of information missing. (The infamous ‘other unique queries’.)

Times change (quickly) and this industry evolves (rapidly) and now more complete search query data is available from a couple of sources. At the same time, the traditional Search Query Performance report has been phased out of the AdWords Report Center – along with just about every other kind of report. So let’s look at how we can get at AdWords search query data now:

1. Within AdWords Keyword data in UI: Recent enhancements to the AdWords user interface include the ability to generate an ‘on the fly’ report on search terms.  From the ‘Keywords’ tab, you can select the ‘See search terms’ button to go to a report on search terms.  This shows all the search terms used, with indications as to which ones are currently being bid on.  The nice thing here is that you can instantly add keywords or even add negative keywords directly from this report.  And you can also download the report in CSV format.

AdWords search query terms
3. Google Analytics AdWords data: With the new AdWords reporting enhancements to Google Analytics, it is easy to get a look at actual search terms being used. Simply go to ‘Traffic Sources’>’AdWords beta’>’Keywords’ and then use the second dimension box to select ‘Matched Search Query’. Here you get a nice side-by-side listing of keywords you are bidding on along with matched terms.  The additional advantage, of course, is that you get all that juicy post-click behavioural data, such as bounce rate, goal completions, and – if you have Ecommerce tracking set up – revenue.

GA search query

So there are 2 ways that I know of to investigate AdWords search query data and use it to improve performance of your keyword advertising. Both of these methods offer some advanced flexibility and power compared to the old AdWords Search Query Performance report.

Mediative: Performance Marketing through Network, People, Platform

Canada’s Yellow Pages Group has brought together the strengths of several online marketing players, including Enquiro Search Solutions, to form Mediative. The result promises to be a powerful combination of Network, People, and Platform that offers major benefits to advertisers.

Mediative logoI have been a search marketing strategist, specializing in web analytics, at Enquiro Search Solutions for almost 3 years. There have been a lot of changes over that time: people, office locations, services offered, revenue aspirations, operational procedures, and more, and all this on top of the constant changes in marketing practices, opportunities and technologies that are a fact of life in online business. Never a dull moment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As of October 26, though, Enquiro experienced a whole new dimension of change: the company was brought under the umbrella of a new entity, Mediative, put together by the Yellow Pages Group, one of Canada’s most well-established advertising publishers. Enquiro was one of three major acquisitions that have been combined with existing Yellow Pages online properties and an expansion of Yellow Page’s existing interest in Acquisio (a leading provider of online marketing campaign management software) to form Mediative. This is a potent mix, with some opportunities for great synergies, based on interlocking components of a wide-reaching advertising Network, experienced People with proven expertise in online marketing, and a sophisticated advertising management Platform.

The way I see it, here’s how it all fits together:

The Network:

The Yellow Pages Group already reaches 17 million unique visitors monthly through websites that are specifically targeted at consumers in the process of researching or making a purchase, such as AutoTRADER and Red Flag Deals. Ad Splash Media, another of the acquisitions that comprise Mediative, brings to the table a network of leading online retail brand sites such as FutureShop and Walmart, to which it serves relevant, point of purchase brand advertising. As if that’s not enough, UPTREND media, another company brought under the Mediative umbrella, has access to a community of publisher sites that reaches 15 million unique visitors, plus email newsletters, and more. That’s a huge array of highly productive online advertising opportunities.

The People:

With a network as expansive as the one Mediative now has, it can be a bewildering landscape for advertisers looking to reach as many potential and existing customers as they can, while maintaining a high return on their advertising spend. This is where the Mediative people come in. Enquiro has built a reputation for delivering successful search engine marketing campaigns and related online marketing strategies for major brands across North America, as well as undertaking definitive research into online search and buying behavior. This expertise has the potential to dovetail nicely with the Mediative network opportunities available and the existing expertise at Ad Splash, UPTREND, and Acquisio.

Beyond that, though, Enquiro will still offer clients in the U.S. and Canada a full suite of search marketing opportunities. The difference now is not just additional channel opportunities, but also additional people resources that can be accessed to provide service to clients  wherever they are located and wherever their markets are.

The Platform:

The final piece that helps bring it all together is a platform for managing marketing campaigns across networks and achieving high performance through data-driven decisions. With Acquisio and other technologies, Mediative has a platform in place to measure, manage, and optimize marketing results. This is particularly exciting to me, as web analytics practitioner who is always looking for more and better ways to get insights into performance and to report those back to clients.

The Conclusion:

As always in situations when different businesses are merged, it can take a while to get all cylinders firing. And it doesn’t always work as well as expected (“Hello, AOL-Time Warner!”). But YPG appears to have taken a very considered approach and it seems to me there is some great potential here. One thing for sure…there are no dull moments in sight!

Opinions expressed of those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Mediative. It’s basically just me thinking out loud. 🙂