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PPC queries: Not Provided in Google Analytics

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April’s big story in the world of search marketing was Google's move to remove paid search query data from Google Analytics, in a similar way to its removal of organic search query data at the end of …

April’s big story in the world of search marketing was Google's move to remove paid search query data from Google Analytics, in a similar way to its removal of organic search query data at the end of 2011. For the SEO community, the organic traffic change was a significant development because it removed search marketers' main source of search query data. However, for PPC advertisers, the impact should be much less drastic.
The paid search team at digital agency Crafted has put together a brief document to help answer some of the questions you may have about the change.

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  • 1. Crafted INFORMATION PPC Queries: (Not Provided) in Google Analytics
  • 2. Crafted INFORMATION Crafted information PPC Queries: (Not Provided) in Google Analytics What has Google done? Traffic from paid Google ads has now been made secure, and search query information has been removed from outgoing URLs. Effectively, the query on Google that led to each paid search click is no longer passed through to the destination website. This has brought paid traffic in line with traffic from the organic Google listings, which has been secure and has had this information stripped out for the past couple of years. Why has Google done this? Google has cited increased security as the reason for this change, as it felt that users may not wish to have their search queries seen by the sites that they visit, and to prevent the potential misuse of this information. What does this mean for me? Query level data from Google ad traffic will now show up as “(not provided)” in Google Analytics. This means that this source of information for the majority of paid traffic will no longer be available. All other AdWords data in Analytics will be unaffected, so you will still be able to compare the relative performance of this channel against other traffic sources, and access data at campaign and ad group data. What do I need to do about it? In short, probably not much. Crucially, keyword and search query information will be available as usual from the AdWords interface, so the main methods for keeping track of patterns in search behaviour, and for bid and keyword optimisation, will be unaffected. Search query information will also continue to be available through Webmaster Tools. Analytics has always been a supplementary source of information for most advertisers at a search query level, so the impact will be relatively small and the usual good practices for keyword monitoring will still be possible. Will it affect bid and campaign management tools? Marin have recently released a statement that their platform will be unaffected by the changes, as they take their search data directly from the AdWords API and use their own URL parameters (such as keyword IDs) to differentiate traffic. The same will be true of the vast majority of other campaign management tools. Advertisers or service providers who make use of the search query parameters in URLs for dynamic landing pages, keyword generation, reporting etc. may need to find an alternative approach. As an example, keyword data can be used to customise landing pages instead of the search query used. So what’s next? This may be a step on the road towards further changes to Analytics tracking functionality, and could possibly be the precursor to a two tier model of Analytics access where a paid version allows access to a greater level of keyword data. Alternatively, it could just be a one-off change to improve the security of Google search for its users. Watch this space! April’s big story in search marketing was the move by Google to remove paid search query data from Google Analytics, in a similar way to its removal of organic search query data at the end of 2011. For the SEO community, the organic traffic change was a huge development as it removed their main source of search query data, but, for PPC advertisers, the impact should be much less drastic. Below are the answers to some of the questions you may have about the change.
  • 3. Ipswich Headquarters 32 Fore Street Ipswich IP4 1JU T. +44 (0) 1473 213222 E. hello@crafted.co.uk London Office Clerkenwell Workshops 27/31 Clerkenwell Close London EC1R 0AT T. +44 (0) 20 3393 3852 www.crafted.co.uk

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