The notoriety and borderline hysteria of the term “not provided” has reached new levels over the last 30 days. Last week Google announced that they would be removing query data from clicks coming from SSL searches on Google. This has been the focus of great attention, suspicion and panic with the word of digital marketing.
Why The Change?
Google has made a big deal about secure search over the last year or so, bringing it to most people’s attention when it stopped making organic secure search keyword data available to advertisers back in October 2013. If you’re a cynical sort, you might also buy into the reports that Google have done this to prevent any competing ad networks to access search query data.
Right where you left it – although the report is called the search terms report rather than the search query report, you’ll still find it under the keywords tab in AdWords or can access it directly using the AdWords API.
What Does This Mean For PPC?
For those of us running PPC campaigns the right way….almost nothing. Data will continue to be available to advertisers through the AdWords “search terms report”. The bigger tools such as Marin have already confirmed that their platforms will not be affected, and for those advertisers customising landing pages using keyword data or working with smaller third-party tools or in-house solutions, Google has provided some good suggestions on both these fronts so advertisers can continue with minimal changes required.
What Should I Do Now?
Overall, the more interesting aspect of keyword not provided has been the reaction of the search marketing community in general. Google Trends highlights the peak in interest in this as a term and how that has evolved over the last six months.
Although with regard to PPC this hasn’t resulted in any huge changes, it is clear that this data holds tremendous value for advertisers and should be paramount in any online marketing strategy. In my opinion, the greatest takeaway for advertisers here should be that if you’ve taken search term reports, or keyword level data for granted in the last few months, relied only on automated tools to sift through this data or even just neglected it completely, then you should be taking another look at this important feature.
Written by Dan Pillay