A couple years after 'Not Provided' moved in on organic search, Google announced that it would no longer pass individual search queries via referring URL for paid search either. This announcement has ruffled a few feathers in the search marketing world and prompted concerns over how this new 'Not Provided' will impact the analysis of search data.
In this video, RKG Paid Search Director Paul Koch addresses why Google pulled the trigger on 'Not Provided' and what this change means for advertisers.
Paul Koch: Hi, I'm Paul Koch, Director of Paid Search here at RKG. Today I want to talk about Google's recent announcement that they would no longer be passing individual search queries in the referrer string shared with AdWords advertisers. This is very similar to what Google started doing in 2011 when they stopped sharing search queries with SSL encryption on the organic side.
What this means is that advertisers will no longer have the individual user search query when someone clicks on an ad for that specific keyword. This isn't really a major problem for most advertisers. We still have all the information about the keyword, we just won’t know what that individual user searched. We'll still be able to get a lot of that data through AdWords, particularly their Search Term Report. This is a good resource for being able to look at aggregated data and be able to tell whether we need to add negatives or whether we need to add keywords.
This is largely predicated on you having Google Conversion Tracking. If you don't have Google Conversion Tracking, you won’t necessarily be able to do the data on the conversions to individual search queries or the search queries in aggregate, so you may want to consider adding Google Conversion Tracking to your site.
I want to talk a little bit about some of the major comments and questions that we've seen and heard after this announcement. One is, “why is Google doing this? What's in it for them? Why are they concerned about this data?” One is privacy. And there's an interesting tension between privacy and personalized search. Google decided to draw the line with the individual search query as opposed to something like device, proximity, location, demographics, all these things that are already being shared with us. It'll be interesting to see how that tension plays out over time, again between privacy and personalized search.
Another is, “what changes with reporting or other information that I have?” Really nothing at all changes about the keywords. Third-party tools, AdWords, analytics, all work exactly the same as they did before. We just won’t have that individual user's search query. That data is still available through AdWords.
Which finally brings me to the point of, "Hey, I'm an advertiser, I'm paying for this. I should be able to get this data," and you can. You can just get it in aggregate as opposed to an individual user.
I hope this helps answer some of the questions and be able to clarify what changes with Google's recent announcement. Thank you.