"Not Provided" comes to Paid Search

Published on 28th Apr 2014 in PPC

By now you’ll be aware that Google have officially announced that they are bringing “not provided” to ads including pay per click (PPC) ads. So what does this mean and do we need to be concerned? The crux of this is that search data will now be withheld from paid clicks, as witnessed with SEO last year (see post 30th September 2013 SEO Data is Dead), leading to more “secure search for clicks”, in short when people using secure words click on AdWords ads, the user’s search query in the referral string, i.e the actual words that people entered into the search box, won’t be passed to analytics packages and third-party software.

What does this mean to you?

The big question for many is what will be the impact of this on our businesses. Most businesses from small start-ups to major international conglomerates use PPC ads to drive traffic to their website when potential customers search for the relevant key words. A Google search will display PPC ads as well as the full Google search results.

Google have assured businesses and advertisers that they will still be able to utilise search term data in order to fine tune their landing pages and campaigns. If your go-to data resources are the search terms report on AdWords or the Search Queries report via Google Webmaster Tools, that’s not going to change. These reports let users see search queries that generated ad clicks along with vital performance data will continue. Good news for those who want access to information regarding the leading queries that create organic clicks.

All very well but what if you are a business that has been depending on search query strings for your data, keyword generation or optimising your landing pages? As with organic, the argument is that this has more to do with user security than anything else. Google says people will type names and addresses into a search bar, or other information that may make them personally identifiable. On the other hand you could say that these names and addresses are probably already in the phone book and so publicly available anyway.

What is interesting to note here is how over the last few years we’ve evolved from keyword targeting to a much more personalised approach to targeting that understands device, location, proximity, demographics, context and past user behaviour and yet Google is trying to keep this information private. Ultimately, all we want to do is serve the right ad to the right person in the right context at the right time.

Business as usual for Infinity

Infinity’s call tracking solution will not be affected by these changes as we use our own tracking tags and so consequently it doesn't affect the ability for Infinity to track to keyword level.

If you have any questions and would like to discuss this in more detail then please give us a call or contact your Account Manager.

Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Alex Worth
Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Digital marketing enthusiast at Infinity and when not at work is kept on her toes by two cheeky little boys.

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