PPC News Written by 0

Rumors have been swirling for a few weeks, but on April 9, 2014, Google officially announced that the search engine giant is bringing “not provided” to ads including pay per click (PPC) ads. What does this mean? Search query data will be withheld from paid clicks leading to more “secure search for clicks” on paid search ad according to an announcement posted by the product management director of Google’s AdWords, Paul Feng. “Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com,” he stated.

The bigger question for many is how this will impact businesses. Every business from providers of battery backup sump pump equipment to gourmet cat food chefs use PPC ads to drive traffic to their site when potential customers search for relevant key words. If someone Googles “sump pumps San Diego” or “luxury cat treats Nashville,” they find PPC ads as well as the full Google search results.

Changes to watch

Feng assures businesses and advertisers that they will still be able to utilize big data in order to fine tune their landing pages and campaigns. If your go-to data resources are the search terms report on AdWords of the Search Queries report via Google Webmaster Tools, that’s not going to change. These reports that let users “see search queries that generated ad clicks along with key performance data” aren’t going anywhere, says Feng. That’s good news for advertisers who want access to information regarding the 2,000 leading queries that create organic clicks.

But what if you’ve been depending on search query strings for your data, auto keyword generation or optimizing dynamic landing pages? Feng says businesses should start using AdWords API Search Query Performance reports or AdWords Scripts Report. If you want to keep customizing those landing pages, use the keyword that created the initial ad click and avoid the query. You can get the match type as well as the keyword sent to web servers via the ValueTrack parameter found in the URL.

More to come

It’s too soon to know (or even guess) what additional changes Google’s move will bring. However, this isn’t really new since Google stopped passing search query data for organic search results already. When these rumors first started, there were worries that major paid search management platforms like Kenshoo and Marin Software would be defeated by the change, but Marin has gone on record to say no disruptions are expected. CMO of Marin, Matt Ackley, made an official statement noting that the company wasn’t surprised since “the equivalent parameter was removed from organic referrals recently.”

According to Ackley, “It’s not that big a deal,” so small businesses and advertisers shouldn’t worry much. Marin is a partner of AdWords API and leverages the data of keywords (which is different than search queries) to create fantastic optimization and campaign management. Ackley hopes everyone remembers that only queries will be impacted, not keywords, and that platforms which use Keyword IDs won’t have any disruptions with bidding capacity. The biggest change is that you’ll be dealing with aggregated data.


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