Google tacitly included an update in the data statements for the search term reports. A vague warning appears in the Account Alerts section:

Google Ads to hide some search query data

Clicking on "Learn more" takes the user to the existing Google support article on search terms. At first glance, it looks like the same explanation it's always been, but underneath is the following warning:

Google Ads to hide some search query data

The announcement offers no further explanation of what is considered "significant". They offered a follow-up statement that does little to shed additional light on the impact of the change:

advertising

Read on below

In order to maintain our privacy standards and to improve our protection with respect to user data, we have made changes to our search terms report to include only terms that a significant number of users have searched for. We continue to invest in new and efficient ways to share insights that will enable advertisers to make important business decisions. – Google statement

Loss of control and loss of visibility

The first reaction from paid search managers was frustration and skepticism. The immediate concern is industries with high CPCs, which take into account irrelevant search queries.

Google Ads to hide some search query data

But there is something deeper at stake. This change is one of many that makes managers feel like they have less control over their accounts and less helpful information from Google.

Google Ads to hide some search query data

Some also suggest that it wouldn't be quite as good if the other changes mentioned above weren't made. In particular, many years ago were frustrated that Google no longer made the exact match exact.

advertising

Read on below

The proliferation of keywords that were not intended by managers combined with poor visibility and high CPC environments creates a different level of anxiety.

Google Ads to hide some search query data

Practical examples

Some PPC managers offer examples of where their concerns lie: accounts that they have personally seen wasted money that may never have been caught when this new search term rule was applied.

Google Ads to hide some search query data

Wil Reynolds also offered a thread that gave an example of a bank paying for clicks on a query that was actually a rap song:

Google Ads to hide some search query data

Roll with the blows

Some managers see this as an inevitability that only needs to be adjusted as the platform evolves.

advertising

Read on below

Many of Google's features over the past few years have focused on automation options that have long indicated that managers should focus more on the impact of large accounts than on the granularity of elements like keywords.

Google Ads to hide some search query dataGoogle Ads to hide some search query data

Other recent automation tests

As recently as last week, some managers noticed a difference in the user interface in the ad themes area. Where there was previously an option to add themes that could be specified as a text ad versus a responsive search ad, the text ad option has been removed.

advertising

Read on below

Google has confirmed that this is a test and it won't be on every account. In fact, I can personally see it on one account and not another, even though they are both of the same brand.

Here's a view with and without the text ad option.

Google Ads to hide some search query dataGoogle Ads to hide some search query data

No doubt we will continue to see small changes that, over time, could create great opportunities for how PPC managers get their jobs done.

advertising

Read on below

We will continue to follow this developing story.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here