By Maria Diggle

Google have recently announced improvements in data freshness, with certain metrics and reports now being updated more frequently. Amongst these is the search query report, enabling you to access search terms in as little as 6 hours, where previously it could take up to 2 days! But what does this mean for your campaigns, and how should you be using it to your advantage?

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What does the report show?

Within the AdWords interface, you can easily see which keywords have acquired impressions, clicks and conversions, along with a whole range of other figures and stats. However there's an important difference between keywords and search terms. A search term is the exact word or phrase entered by a user into Google, which then matched to one of your keywords and triggered an ad.

Example –

Examples of matching search terms

The search query report enables you to see the exact search terms that matched to your keywords, and view data for these individual terms, rather than just the keywords they matched to.

Previously you had to wait up to 48 hours to be able to access this data, but this is now available to view in as little as 6 hours.

Why is it so great?

Exact match keywords are an important feature of any account, but only having these would severely limit the scope and reach of your campaigns. As such, it's advisable to also include relevant phrase and modified broad match keywords. These will pick up a lot of extra traffic, and the search query report allows you to see exactly which search terms these keywords have matched to.

It's really important to be checking your search query reports on a regular basis, identifying search terms which are generating decent volumes of traffic, and taking action in one of two ways -

  1. Search terms attracting a lot of impressions or clicks and which are relevant to your campaigns, should be added in as targeted keywords of their own. You can then easily access these keywords in the normal AdWords interface, and monitor their performance from here.
  2. The report will also allow you identify any irrelevant searches that your ad is being triggered against which may be having a negative impact on your account. These could be search terms with a low CTR which are lowering your quality score or search terms which are causing you to pay for clicks that are highly unlikely to convert. You can use the report to identify new opportunities for negative keywords to add to your campaigns, which will prevent these terms from showing in the future.

But wait, there's more!

The report isn't just super handy for your keyword targeted campaigns – you're also able to access it for other campaigns which don't rely upon keywords, namely DSA and shopping campaigns.

DSA and Shopping campaigns allow your ads to be eligible to appear against certain search queries, but don't rely on you creating lists of keywords. Instead they match users' searches against your website content and merchant shopping feeds. Helena explains more about the features of DSAs and shopping campaigns in these awesome blogs!

The search query reports from these campaigns can be particularly useful for identifying any new areas of opportunity you're not currently targeting within your other search campaigns.

Despite the lack of targeted keywords, you can still exclude any irrelevant search term by adding them as negative keywords in these campaigns.

Advantages of having it sooner?

Now that Google are updating this data more frequently and making it available to us sooner, there's no excuse not to be utilising it more often! Whilst more mature campaigns are unlikely to need this checking regularly, it is a really useful improvement for any new campaigns or ad groups you're launching. You'll be able to access search term data on the same day as launch, and start to filter out any irrelevant terms even more quickly – meaning less wasted spend!

Furthermore, if you happen to see any sudden peaks in traffic within any of your accounts, you'll be able to investigate this right down to search query level almost straight away and see exactly which terms this is coming from.

Tell me quick, how do I find it?!

Navigate to the keywords tab of the ad group or campaign you want to look at, and click on the details button. You'll then see a drop down menu, where you can choose to view the search terms for all the keywords in a given ad group or campaign, or just any you have selected.

Where to find the Search Query Report

Quick recap…

The search query report provides a really simple and vital way to optimise your account, by allowing you to add relevant search terms as new keywords and exclude irrelevant searches with new negative keywords.

This is something that every account should definitely be taking advantage of and with the news that this is now available even sooner this is something you can be looking at within the first few hours of launching your campaigns.

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