Using Analytics New AdWords Beta to Find Exact Search Phrases

The recent release of the AdWords beta tab in Google Analytics is a long overdue and welcomed addition to the search engine marketers arsenal. Features such as day parts and the ability to cross analyse keys metrics is now far easier than before. My personal favourite being CTR vs bounce rate.

Accessing the keyword data relating to the exact search phrase has always been a problem, as AdWords only shows you the keyword in your account that triggered the search. Unless you use advanced filter Google Analytics hacks or slave over pages and pages of Search Query Reports, knowing the exact search terms referrals from the search engines was never known. Through Google analytics new AdWords Beta though, there is a new more accurate and convenient way of tracking those elusive terms.

From the AdWords beta tab select campaigns. In the first drop down select Keyword, then from the second metric select Matched Search Query. Now we can see the account triggered keyword and the exact search term side by side. Great for spotting new negative keywords or discovering new opportunities from search terms coming from broad or phrase match keywords.

The example above  is taken from an account with full ppc referrer analytics filters applied. As we can see from the first search term, ‘funky mirror’ is missing the bracketed search term but a matched search query is displayed. This shows the inconsistencies in advanced filters not capturing all the data, unlike this new facility.

Search Query Reports and advanced filters provide some great data. Where filters can be inconsistent and SQR’s a lack of interaction and an intense csv induced overload of information and data nightmare, especially in any medium or large account. This feature makes a far more consistent and coherent on screen approach to exact search term analysis.

PPC: The poorer brother in Google’s new look SERPs

Much has been made of Google’s new look SERPs, both positive and negative. No one can deny from a search point of view the new left navigation of defined mediums allows single click access to relevant materials faster than before. This has always been Google’s manifesto and key to its huge market share. Despite all this concentration on achieving more qualified SERPs, has PPC advertising been ignored in Google’s latest incarnation.

*I’ll use the Nintendo Wii as an example

A standard search currently serves up targeted and highly relevant PPC ads bidding for supremacy on single story SERPs. For those short tail keyword searchers not instantly seeing what they need, they now have the ability to easily go that level deeper in a single click.

Let’s say a searcher was after a cheats book for the Wii (as we know not everyone utilises the long tail when searching) so clicks on Books. Surely enough a new page of results appears for Wii related books. PPC ads however are left behind. All displayed ads are for the original search, not so relevant now right? Book retailers selling game guides, cheat books and walkthroughs using PPC advertising would love to target this ad space but are not given the opportunity. Not only this but due to the page refresh we now have two impressions each ad.

A click on videos again serves relevant Wii content of games, console clips and reviews. Once again though PPC ads remain static and not so relevant. Games developers, manufacturers and those using viral video would love to target this highly relevant advertising real estate but aren’t given the opportunity. Impressions are now up to three on these ads lets not forget.

This new system of 8 levels of search has left PPC advertisers that produce quality and thematic ads a new and reduced level of targeted relevancy. Much was made of the very welcomed introduction of Modified Broad Match conveniently in the days immediately after the changes. This significant, but small grace from Google, shouldn’t be lost on us in the PPC industry as a way to plug the hole left by the possible and harmful multiple impressions served up by the new left hand navigation. Not to mention the loss in traffic from Google serving less relevant ads.

Until we in the industry are given the ability to specifically target these pages, (which face it wouldn’t be a difficult to incorporate into the AdWords interface) we will risk suffering quality scores, CTRs subsequent increased costs.

Search Engine Roundtable recently undertook a survey asking if people were receiving less referrals from Google since the redesign. 80% of people said they had seen a reduction or continuity of traffic levels. I think it won’t be long before Google announces the ability to target these pages, in the meantime though it seems the loss in referrals from PPC advertising specifically is set to continue.