(Not Provided) Data in Adwords: The Facts


Paul Feng (Product Management Director of Adwords) announced that Adwords has rolled out secure search (SSL encryption) for signed-in searches:

"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"

Organic Google searches are already severely limited: you can't see the search query that drove a visitor to your site.

How does this work for Adwords' query referral restrictions?


  • Query Data on Ad Clicks from signed-in searches are removed

This means that the search query or search term data is removed from the referring URL.

This query data is used by some tools to automatically populate a landing page with Dynamic content. It can also be used by other advertising networks which scrape data from Google's paid and search traffic behavior.

  • Dynamic Content Insertion for Landing Pages can still work

If you have landing pages that change their content dynamically (like in the Title, Headline, or Call to Action) based on the user's search intent, then it's best to use the keyword rather than the term or search query.

This might be a little bit confusing for some people, but what's the difference between a search query (term) and a keyword?

Here the exact definition from Google:

"A search term is the exact word or set of words a customer enters when searching on Google.com or one of our Search Network sites. A keyword is the word or set of words AdWords advertisers create for a given ad group to target your ads to customers."

Search terms or search queries are very important in managing your paid advertising campaigns because it helps with building your negative keywords and identifying new search trends. On the other hand, keywords and match types are very important in running highly optimized paid advertising campaigns.

With the new changes from this announcement, it's best practice to use keyword matching rather than query matching in dynamic content insertion for landing pages.

Also, you'll want to make sure that the keywords you're bidding on are "grammatically" correct.

Here's an example:

Keywords on Adgroups: "Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto"

Exact Search Query: where can I find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto, Ontario

Recommended: Use Keyword matching in landing pages. E.g.: "Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto" (dynamically created matching keyword)

If you have a custom script that can add Dynamic Content to your landing pages you can use ValueTrack parameters to pass the keyword data to your web servers.

If you use third party platforms to create landing pages with dynamic content make sure they work properly after these changes from Google.


Paid Search Query Data is Dead

Nope, far from it. You can still access search query data in Adwords, via Adwords API (3rd party tools using the Adwords API), and in Google Analytics. Yes, you can still see "matched search query" reports in Analytics as long as you've properly linked Analytics and Adwords.

Quick tip: Google announced that in the coming weeks, the new linking process will allow you to link Multiple Adwords accounts all at once.

Third Party Platform Providers will Stop Working

Again, this is not true. If these third party tools access data via the Adwords API, then you can still get access to the paid search query data. I would check with the third party provider and ask them if they have been affected by this change. But I doubt it, since most platforms already gain data access from Google via the Adwords API.

About the Author: Ryan Cruz

Ryan is a PPC Specialist at Search Engine People, Inc and has been working in traffic generation, conversion optimization, and internet marketing for almost 8 years. Ryan focuses on driving digital performance on all the PPC accounts he handles. He's also into photography and juicing!

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