Google recently announced they will be restricting longtail data available in the Search Terms Report, to only include queries which have met a certain volume-based threshold.
A Google spokesperson stated the following, when speaking to Search Engine Land late last month.
“In order to maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data, we have made changes to our Search Terms Report to only include terms that a significant number of users searched for. We’re continuing to invest in new and efficient ways to share insights that enable advertisers to make critical business decisions,”
The update, which Bliss can confirm began rolling out September 2nd (yes, same day as the announcement), has caused debate amongst the Paid Search Community, with a change.org petition demanding at least an ‘Opt-Out’ option, quickly garnering over 2,500+ signatures.
This move is a kick in the face to small businesses, at a time when they’re hurting more than ever. Shame on you @GoogleAds & @Google – you didn’t used to be like this. – @tylerellisonppc
This has nothing to do with privacy and everything to do with making more money for Google. Continuing to take away visibility from advertisers who are paying for it. I guess Google just wants to turn into a tv network – @360vardi
Why is this an issue?
In a nutshell, this means less control for advertisers and more money for Google, with decreased customisation over both the management, and prevention of unwanted clicks.
Insights found within the Search Terms Report (which have effectively been paid for) help businesses to make better decisions, navigate the market and gain a stronger understanding of what it is their audience is actually searching. These recent changes make it increasingly difficult to optimise ad spend, as (in many cases) a significant amount of said spend, will now be hidden from you.
Google are yet to define the threshold, or what precisely deems a search term ‘significant’, but for those thinking individual queries don’t add up, especially in competitive markets, take a look at this tweet from Collin Slattery for perspective. He’s analysed 180 days of client data and $120,000 USD in ad spend.
Needless to say, as results of these changes (or lack thereof) continue to come through, there will be heated debate amongst paid marketers. How good is 2020.
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