Nicole Stormberg, G5's Manager of Paid Advertising, joined me in a quest to unlock the details - including implications - surrounding Google's latest announcement. Our findings follow below.
G5, along with the PPC world, have been buzzing about rumored changes to Adwords. The source of the buzz: Amit Singhal, Google's head of Search. During SMX West in March, Amit stated that the supposed Google concern over privacy that drove the change to “not provided" for organic search could be applied to Adwords.
The most alarming rumor was that Google would take away Keywords with this change. This was daunting news considering the way campaigns would have to be re-worked and managed. We had been reassured by our Google account team that the changes coming were not as dramatic as those associated with last year’s Enhanced Campaigns. As usual, Google's actual announcement was less pernicious than the worst case rumor.
So what does this mean? How painful is this change? There are two perspectives to examine. First, the daily management of the campaigns and second, the analysis of those campaigns.
The change takes away the user’s search query in the referrer string that Google passes to analytics packages—similar to what they do for Organic search—but leaves the Keywords and performance metrics intact in Adwords. Likewise, advertisers will still have access to search queries in Adwords which means G5 will still utilize Adwords reports to generate new and negative keyword ideas to add to the comprehensive lists we’ve amassed over the last eight years.
Simply put, this change to the referrer string will have very little impact on 100% of the campaigns we manage. The exception would be if we were using a technique called Dynamic Keyword Insertion, a way of passing the search query into ad text to make it appear more relevant to the user's search. Because of the nature of that technique and the possibility for embarrassment on the end of our clients, we don’t use this.
A minor annoyance could occur for people who report on Adwords using the Google Analytics interface versus the Adwords reporting. But at G5, we use both the Analytics API and the Adwords API so our clients won't notice any change in our PPC reporting.
This latest change reflects Google’s desire to provide added security for their users, and may help foster increased trust (and traffic to Google) as the Search Engine giant asserts its position on privacy protection. Rest assured, this change will not affect G5’s strategy of driving relevant traffic via targeted PPC keywords to our clients’ sites and converting relevant searchers into qualified leads, and ultimately, satisfied customers.