If you’re running ads with Google AdWords there is one report that is required reading, the search term report. If you’re not reading it regularly you could be missing out on opportunities, and more importantly wasting a lot of money. Even if you have a specialist or an agency running your campaign I’d still recommend reading it regularly.
If you’re not familiar with the search term report, it’s the words people are actually typing in that trigger your ads. So for example, your targeted keyword phrase is pizza, you could find in your report your ad was shown when people typed in pizza delivery, pizza recipes, and tombstone pizzas. If you’re a restaurant that specializes in pizzas, then only one of these phrases is likely of value to your business.
To Access the Google Search Term Report
To see the search terms log into your AdWords account and then go to keywords. You’ll see three tabs under keywords, negative keywords, and search terms. Click the final one and you’ll see the phrases listed. With each phrase you’ll see information such as the number of clicks for a particular word, the number of impressions it received, the cost per click, etc. You can also see the total spent for a particular phrase.
You can look at the report when you first log into your account or in individual campaigns, or even in a specific ad group. When you log in the date range by default will be the last 30 days. You can adjust the time frame by clicking on the date in the upper right hand corner.
Product Listing Ads
Since keywords aren’t used for product listing ads, you might assume that you don’t have search terms. In fact, there are. When you look at the keywords in product listings you’ll see just two tabs, negative keywords and search terms. Because a number of elements can trigger a product listing ad, you really want to monitor the phrases here. You’ll likely see products or brands you don’t offer and which you want to block.
Find New Keywords To Target
If you see terms that are slightly different than what you’re currently targeting, but that seem relevant, then you want to add them to your keyword list. Yes, the report shows your ads are being triggered by the phrase, but by adding it to your list you can target it more successfully. For example, you could incorporate the phrase in its own ad group. Again to use the pizza example, perhaps you find a number of searches for pizza delivery to a nearby suburb, Collegetown, for example. Since you do, an ad that says Pizza Delivery to Collegetown which will likely do better with that market then a simple generic pizza delivery ad.
Avoid Wasted Spend
One of the main reasons to read the report regularly is that your ads are likely being triggered by phrases that have no value to you. For example, say you’re a plumber in San Diego and notice that your ads are being triggered by the phrase San Diego plumber jobs. Since this is likely someone looking for work or a career, you want to block it. By adding jobs to your negative list, your ad will no longer appear when this word is used in a search. Not only does this prevent you wasting money on the click, but by eliminating these searches you’re lowering the number impressions your ads receive, which is also good.
An impression is how many times your ad is shown. Your click through rate is the number of clicks out of the number of impressions received. The better your click through rate, the better it is for your Quality Score. Because of the way Google’s AdWords algorithm is, the better your Quality Score, the lower your potential cost could be. So even if your clicks don’t increase, by lowering your impressions you improve your CTR.
Search Term Reports in Bing Ads
Bing Ads also reveals the search terms people used to trigger their ads, but in a different format. To access it, you have to click the keywords tab. You’ll see a series of columns with keywords, ad group, bid strategy type, etc. Click the box to the left of the keywords column, which will put checks in boxes next to all of the words. Then look for Details slightly above the columns. Click the drop down there and then click all. You’ll see the search terms listed then.
How Often To Review Search Term Reports?
If the campaign has just started then I recommend checking it every few days, perhaps even daily if your budget is large and your keyword list extensive. Over time you can cut this back to weekly, perhaps even biweekly or maybe just monthly. Part of this can depend on what type of keyword match types you have in your account. If you have a lot of broad match, which is never a good idea, then you’ll need to review more often. If most are phrase or exact match, you might be able to go longer between reports once you’ve had the campaign going for a while. Either you way you want to have a regular time frame to review it.
If You’re a Business Owner, Take an Active Role
Even if you have an agency or consultant assisting you I’d recommend reviewing it yourself. With many of my clients I send them a monthly search term report for them to review. Most likely, I’ve caught most of the phrases we either need to target or block. Yet, it doesn’t’ hurt to have a second set of eyes review the list, particularly someone from the company. Occasionally there are phrases that are listed that only a person from the company might spot. If your current agent doesn’t send you the reports, then ask them to. It’s also a way to see how active they are with your campaign.
If you’re doing AdWords yourself or noticed that your agency hasn’t been active with your campaigns, then consider hiring a Google AdWords specialist such as myself. Reviewing the search term report is just one of many ways I get the highest ROI for my clients.