google search terms report cover

Google Ads Search Terms Report Removes Low Volume Keywords (UPDATED!)

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

September 2nd, 2020

Sam Carr is a content marketer at PPC Protect with 10 years of digital marketing experience. With a keen interest in ad fraud, Sam shares all his insights on the PPC Protect blog.

google invalid clicks report

UPDATED: We’ve discovered a way to get this data back (for now)! Simply go to:

Google Analytics > Acquisition > Google Ads > Search Queries

We can’t confirm if it’s 100% of search queries appearing, but it does look like it – and there’s a lot more here than you’ll see in Google Ads.

Trying to find out what keywords and search terms trigger your Google ads has been a problem for many advertisers for countless years now.

But it seems like Google has just made it even harder to check what keywords are triggering your ads.

Recently, a Google Ads user noticed a small tooltip when using the search terms report tool.

search terms message

The tooltip message indicates that the search terms report is being changed to only show keywords that are searched by a “significant number of users”. In other words, low volume keywords won’t be shown from now on. This might not seem like a big deal, but for a lot of users, this is taking away a lot of valuable information.

There is no clarification on how many searches a specific keyword needs to be considered “significant”. But if it removed every keyword with less than a global search of 100, then that would have a huge impact on how PPC managers manager their campaigns.

Why Does This Matter?

Usually, when Google makes changes to their Google Ads platform, they do it to benefit the user. But in this case, similar to their recent digital service tax fees, this has no benefit to anyone but Google.

Many advertisers use the search terms report to find irrelevant keywords that their ads are showing up for. They can then exclude them by setting up a negative keywords list or fine-tuning their match type settings. But with only “significant” keywords being displayed in the search terms report now, how can anyone be sure they’re not wasting money on low volume irrelevant keywords?

The answer is, they can’t.

This has basically been a silent update by Google as it doesn’t help the user in any way. If we could guess why they’re making the change, then it would be to give users less control over their keyword targeting and ultimately make Google more money.

By not allowing users to see what keywords are triggering their ads, they can still charge users for low volume irrelevant keywords.

At the time of writing this article, there hasn’t been any announcements or updates from Google regarding this issue.

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