Yesterday, we reported that it seems likely Google will soon stop passing search query data on paid search clicks, as it already has for clicks on organic search results. With the news came questions — among them whether paid search management platforms such as Marin, Acquisio and Kenshoo would be done in by such a change.
In response, Matt Ackley, CMO of Marin Software has issued the following statement clarifying that its capabilities — and those of most other paid search platforms — would not be affected if Google does opt to keep search query referrer data from passing through on paid search clicks.
“We are aware of reports that Google may cease to provide search query data in the referring URL of paid clicks. If true, it would not be unexpected as the equivalent parameter was removed from organic referrals recently. As an AdWords API partner, Marin Software leverages keyword data – separate from search query data – in providing its market-leading analytics, campaign management and optimization capabilities.”
I spoke with Ackley this morning a bit more about what a change like this could mean. As he pointed out above, there are a couple of key distinctions to make here:
- Keyword data and search query data are not the same thing. If Google stops passing the full set of referrer data on paid search clicks, this will impact search queries, not keywords.
- Platforms that rely on Keyword IDs, as Marin does, would not have their bidding capabilities disrupted.
Overall, Ackley told me that if the change were made it “would not be that big a deal” because most advertisers are bidding on keywords while search queries are used primarily for keyword expansion and negative keyword discovery. What seems certain is paid search advertisers would still have access to search query data tied to clicks and conversions in AdWords, just in an aggregated form.
Postscript: Google has now announced the change. See Official: Google Brings “Not Provided” To Ads, Will Withhold Search Query Data From Paid Clicks
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