NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!

by jameszol Dec 19, 2007  07:12 AM  - (68 comments)

Introducing our semvironment NUDE series where we expose some of the best ppc management secrets ever! This series will be posted roughly every 2 weeks…so watch out for the naked secrets of the super successful in pay per click advertising!


You CAN expose your specific AdWords Keyword Data beyond the dreaded “other unique queries” in the AdWords Search Query Report with Google Analytics!

Don’t you hate running the AdWords Search Query report because you know the best data is behind the cold words “other unique queries”?

Do you have a sick feeling in your gut because you know you can make more money with your affiliate programs, blogs, and ads if you could only tighten up your AdWords advertising?

If you answered “yes”, then you need to read and implement this Analytics secret immediately.

Here is a detailed, step by step process to take a look at what lies beneath the silky covers of “other unique queries” using Google Analytics:

1. Log into AdWords and click on My Account -> Account Preferences:

2. Find the Tracking section in Account Preferences and make sure Auto-tagging is set to “yes”:

3. Click on Analytics from your AdWords account or sign into your Google Analytics account:

4. You can choose to skip this step if you want to edit your current website Analytics profile - we recommend you create a separate profile. Click on Add Website Profile >>:

5. Choose to add a profile to an existing domain:

6. Pick your domain, label the profile, make sure you have a check mark in the Apply Cost Data section and click finish:

7. You should see your new profile listed with any other profiles you already have:

8. Now you need to edit the settings of your new profile - Click on Edit next to your new profile:

Analytics Filter 1

9. Find the Filters Applied to Profile section and click Add Filter:

10. Choose to Add new Filter for Profile:

11. Give your filter a good name, drop down to the Custom Filter type and choose the Advanced option:

12. In Field A -> Extract A choose the Referral drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -


13. In Field B -> Extract B choose the Campaign Medium drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -


14. In Output To -> Constructor choose the Custom Field 1 drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -


15. Make sure all fields are required and they do not need to be case sensitive, then click Finish:

16. You should be back on the profile settings page where you can see this first filter has been applied to your detailed analytics profile.

Analytics Filter 2

17. Repeat steps 9 through 11 to create a second filter. Remember to give the second filter a different name and give this filter the attributes outlined in steps 18 through 21. ***You NEED both filters for detailed keyword data to work!***

18. In Field A -> Extract A choose the Custom Field 1 drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -


19. In Field B -> Extract B choose the Campaign Term drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -


20. In Output To -> Constructor choose the Campaign Term drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -

$B1, ($A1)

21. Make sure all fields are required and they do not need to be case sensitive, then click Finish:

22. You should be back on the profile settings page where you can see this second filter has been applied to your detailed analytics profile. Make sure they are in the order we described - filter 1 should be listed BEFORE filter 2 under the Filters Applied to Profile section.

You are done setting up the secret that will expose your AdWords Keyword Data!

Now you need to wait a few hours for the data to be captured and reported. When you revisit Analytics you simply need to look at these reports and note the added data next to your AdWords keywords:

Traffic Sources -> Keywords

- or -

Traffic Sources -> AdWords -> Keyword Positions

Or a number of other reports…

The data in your old Analytics profile should look like this:

And the data in your new profile should look like this:

The keywords shown in parentheses (key+word) is the exact term the user searched when they found and clicked on your advertisement.

This particular client is only selling home security systems so I would look at this report and add “car” as a negative keyword and I would research “home security devices” to see if there is a decent volume for that term. Then I would consider optimizing a page for that term and add the keyword to my AdWords campaign to see if I can turn those visitors into the kind of visitor that puts money in my wallet. :)

That’s a wrap! Your AdWords Keyword Data is now EXPOSED, NAKED, IN THE BUFF, NUDE, or whatever you want to call it!

Our source for learning and applying this secret to our client accounts and our own accounts comes from a November 2007 blog post by the GA-Experts. Thank you, GA-Experts, for sharing this secret with us!

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68 Responses to “NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!”

  1. Get Naked at the PPC Book Says:

    [...] A wicked good tip from the guys at semvironmentsem on how to break through the generic search query data that Adwords would rather you didn’t [...]

  2. Ian N (1 comments.) Says:

    That’s fantastic! How did you figure that out?

  3. Kevin Kennedy (1 comments.) Says:

    WOW great info. Detailed keyword data will help me decide at a glance where to up my spending and where to lower it!

  4. jameszol Says:

    @Ian - I read almost everything I can get my hands on regarding analytics, ppc, seo..found this gem over at GA-Experts!

    @Kevin - I’m glad it will help!

  5. BJ Wright (3 comments.) Says:

    Awesome Tip! I have looked into other ways to gathering this information, but it required installing additional code on my site. I definitely prefer simply applying a filter or 2. Thanks a lot!

    BJ Wright

  6. jameszol Says:

    @BJ - You’re welcome! Thanks for your compliment!

  7. NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics! « SEO Nonsense Says:

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  8. Adam Green (3 comments.) Says:

    Hands down… the best tip I have read in 2007. Thanks for sharing this, you guys deserve a medal.. this is great and is so helpful!

    Merry Christmas, I will be sure to add your blog to my feed.


  9. December ‘07: Best Search/Marketing Posts » Small Business SEM Says:

    [...] James/semvironment: NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics! [...]

  10. Andy (1 comments.) Says:

    Wow! This really works. Thank you.

  11. 7 Tips For Finding & Expanding Your Negative Keywords Says:

    [...] by terms you don’t want them to. The guys over at semvironmentSEM have a fantastic article on extracting your search query data that Google doesn’t want to give [...]

  12. Dave Kasinsky (1 comments.) Says:

    This is great. I wonder how you figured that out, i can’t believe i wasn’t using this method up until now.

    I must say slimstat was doing a good job for me up until now for that kind of data, but this would be much more efficient.


  13. Costa Rica SEO (6 comments.) Says:

    Fantastic tip! I can’t believe that I didn’t read this earlier…

    Just a note, on step three “3. Click on Analytics from your AdWords account or sign into your Google Analytics account:”

    For me I must sign in to Analytics from Adwords or I don’t get the “Apply Costa Data” checkbox. Just thought I would let you know. Thanks!

  14. SEMMYS Says:

    [...] NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics! James Zolman, semvironment | 12/19/07 [...]

  15. Costa Rica: SEO in Paradise Says:

    [...] and when I read what James over at semvironment found I was floored! They put together a write-up on how to display exact PPC keywords with Google Adwords and Analytics. This little trick only takes a few minutes to do, and can save [...]

  16. SEO Training - Tracking Adwords Keyword Data with Google Analytics « SEO & Affiliate Marketing Training Says:

    [...] friend pointed me to a blog post from semvironment about tracking Adwords keyword data in Google Analytics. I really recommend reading this article because there hasn’t really been an easy way to do [...]

  17. Nicole Says:

    I can’t seem to get this to work and I’d love to have the data! Any tips on troubleshooting?

  18. jameszol Says:

    @Nicole - There has been an auto-tagging error for the past couple days between AdWords and Analytics. Google is working hard to fix that problem and I’m hoping it gets resolved quickly!

    Otherwise, there are a couple things I would do - and you probably already did these but you know how we sometimes forget to “plug it in”…

    First, check the order of your filters in your Analytics Profile settings - are they listed in order 1 then 2?

    Next, check your AdWords account settings - is auto-tagging turned on with a “yes”?

    Finally, double check your filter settings - do they match the images in the post? And if there are any additional spaces before or after the codes, delete them…

    And if everything is great then I am fairly certain it’s the tagging issue which I’m certain should be fixed soon!

  19. Ludvik (6 comments.) Says:


    2 questions:

    Do you need to install the javascript (urchin tracker) on the webpage, or can you access the data directly in google analytics?

    wouldn’t you be able to access these search terms with any analytics tool?


  20. jameszol Says:


    Yes, Google Analytics javascript should be on the page either via a tracking pixel or the javascript code that they provide for you.

    I suppose other analytics tools could capture an exact term but would you have to do a little more work to specify whether or not it is coming from an AdWords advertisement? I honestly am not very familiar with other Analytics tools as I am with Google Analytics. :)

  21. Google Analytics Auto-Tagging Issues | semvironment Says:

    [...] looks like the problem was resolved around January 14 but if you tried implementing the AdWords keyword Data Exposed through Google analytics trick last week and it didn’t work, I recommend giving it another shot because the problem was [...]

  22. PPC - All 2008 Nominees » Says:

    [...] NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics! James Zolman, semvironment | 12/19/07 [...]

  23. printscrn Says:

    Good Post!
    As of today I’m still not seeing any raw data. Is there still an issue with the auto-tagging @ Google.
    Also, congrats on the Semmy nomination.

  24. jameszol Says:


    Thank you for the congrats. :)

    I am confident the auto-tagging issue was resolved.

    We are still receiving good data on all our client accounts.

  25. jameszol Says:


    If you have problems with receiving data, please take screen shots of your filters and post them with as much detail as possible -

    Have you reviewed your filters for extra spaces before or after the codes?

    Are you certain that analytics javascript is on your landing page?

    Are you advertising with Google Search only, are you including Google’s Search Network, are you using the Content network?

    Have you double checked the auto-tagging settings in your AdWords account - is it set to “yes”?

    And review some other troubleshooting tips in comment #18.

    If you can give us as much detail as possible, we are more than happy to help troubleshoot the issue. :)

    And, for your own safety, PLEASE rub, delete, and censor your account numbers and email addresses in your screen shots!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your new data!

  26. The Adventures of PPC Hero - Heroic Feats of Pay Per Click Management : How to Use Analytics and Reports to Get to Know Your Customers Better Says:

    [...] very frustrating to me as an advertiser. Thankfully, the guys over at semvironment put together this set of instructions for using Google Analytics to side-step this problem! Both the Analytics data, and the reports directly from AdWords can clue [...]

  27. Ingo Says:

    I had this filter applied to my account for over 6 months now and was able to receive the exact PPC keyword data as described.

    Unfortunately the Google auto-tagging issue stopped my Google Analytics to report all my PPC clicks on January 9th 2008. Since January 15th I can see my PPC clicks again (Traffic Sources > AdWords > AdWords campaigns), but I still can’t see specific keyword detail information I could see before.

    My filter is setup exactly as described in this post an worked without any problems before.

    Could it be that Google deactivated this filter function? I heard about the new Google analyics java code. Could there be a relation with the release of the new code.

    The filter has been very helpful for me so far and I really hope there is a way to make it work again.
    Any suggestions?

  28. jameszol Says:


    Very interesting - I’ll conduct a few tests.

  29. jameszol Says:

    Update - some of the tests I am conducting will require roughly 24 hours worth of data…so I’ll post our suggestions by tomorrow evening/early Friday morning. :) Thanks!

  30. PPC - 2008 Finalists » Says:

    [...] NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics! James Zolman, semvironment | 12/19/07 [...]

  31. jameszol Says:

    Update - My test results are inconclusive right now so I am in an email conversation with the “escalated” AdWords and Analytics teams at Google…if that really means anything.

    I am going to post something about my test results later today!

  32. Google - You Suck And I Will Find Another Way | semvironment Says:

    [...] month Google changed their auto-tagging function so it would render the “AdWords keywords exposed” tip useless for a short time! We’re talking with Google right now but in the mean [...]

  33. Ingo Says:


    Thanks for looking into the issue. I’m very curious to see the results of your test. I also looked at my data again and so far the filter still doesn’t work.

  34. jameszol Says:


    I wrote a blog post about some of the results you can click to read through comment #32.

    I will write another post over the weekend or on Monday about the details of the testing I have done thus far.


  35. Jeremy Beyda (1 comments.) Says:

    Really hoping that you can get this working again. I was very excited when I found your post. It was a huge buzz kill when it wouldnt work.

  36. jameszol Says:


    I agree…I was crushed and very angry when I found out what Google did. I know we have had 3000+ unique visits to this particular post and judging by the average time on this page, thousands of people have implemented this trick…talk about a crushing blow by Google to everybody that wanted to improve ROI.

    We are working very hard to make it work again and we are confident that we will have excellent results soon.

  37. Jeff (1 comments.) Says:

    I’ve used this for quite a while and when you consider the importance of this data - it’s not pathetic, but borderline fraudulent that Google doesn’t have formal documentation addressing the collection of this data for AdWords advertisers.

    In fact, it’s tantamount to selling counterfeit goods at full price. Some markets where clicks are way over $1.00 can see advertisers wasting 80% of their clicks if they’re using broad match — it’s pure deception.

    Waste tax payer money on investigating Roger Clemens, or Google? ;-)

    Take care,


  38. The Affiliate Toolbox » Blog Archive » Cool Adwords Trick Says:

    [...] That was until today, my friends, when I stumbled on this post at semvironment titled “NUDE: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!” [...]

  39. jameszol Says:

    Update - we are still waiting for Google’s reply regarding the downtime we have seen with this tip. Our inquiries have been “escalated” to another team - at least that is what they’re telling us.

    As soon as we hear back from them, we’ll post all the info we think we know on the subject and hope for the best! :)

  40. Doodee (3 comments.) Says:

    Thanks for sharing

  41. Jeff (2 comments.) Says:

    Hey - did you manage to find out anything? The filter is fairly straightforward, I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be working as it just grabs something when a condition is met and concatenates it with something else, I don’t see why the mechanics of such simple process would begin to break down after working for quite a while.

    You get the data with almost any other analytics package so I can’t believe that this is intentional. Reduced GA’s usefulness by 50% though for me.

    Take care,


  42. Jeff (2 comments.) Says:

    Actually - it still does work. But you have to pass the data into __utmSetVar (user defined variable)

    Here’s a link to the implementation which is pretty easy.

    You have to break down paid search keyword by user defined variable. It’s clumsier but you still gt 75-80% of the insight into what match type you should be using.

  43. jameszol Says:


    Thanks for the find! We will test implement this find immediately and blog about the results by the end of today - this might just be the trick we needed…

    @Everybody…sorry for the margin issues! This is a newly branded site so we’re working out the kinks still…ugh, it looks bad doesn’t it?

  44. jameszol Says:

    Here is the fix!!! Hooray!!! Thanks to Jeff who pointed this out.

    You can read about the fix here.

  45. Michael Harrison (2 comments.) Says:

    I wanted to point out that the source of your article on the Omega Digital Media blog, was actually published in November of 2006. Over a year and a half ago.

    So, I’m pretty sure that Google isn’t responding to your article. There are some issues with filters, across the board, and the autotagging methodology hasn’t changed at all. In fact, autotagging has no bearing whatsoever on how that filter works.

    I think everyone needs to take a chill pill and wait for Google to respond.

  46. jameszol Says:


    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts - we shared your methods in a recent post to step around the problem while Google takes their sweet time to respond…so no chill pills needed. :)

    I always welcome the humor though!

  47. Track exact PPC keywords with Google Analytics | PPC Whiz Says:

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  48. Soren Jensen (1 comments.) Says:

    This is reeeeaaallly sexy!!!
    Can’t wait to test it…

    Thanks for the insight.

    Søren J ;o)

  49. jameszol Says:

    This started working again on March 5:

  50. Zoe Says:


    I want to implement this trick, do I still follow your original instructions? Or do I need to follow the directions included in “the fix” posted on February 5th, 2008 at 6:16 am? When you say its working again, is it working 100% or the 75-80% mentioned in Jeff’s February 4th, 2008 post at 7:21 am?

    Also, will this workaround allow me to see expanded keyword information (actual search queries)when I look at the report: Traffic Sources/Adwords/Adwords Campaigns/Adwords Campaign/Ad Groups and segment this report by keyword?

    Thanks for your time!


    the directions above? If you implement this work around,Overview » AdWords Campaign » AdWords Campaign Ad Groups »

  51. jameszol Says:


    Yes - follow the original instructions found in this post that we’re commenting on.

    I would add/leave the other fix on your website too just in case the advanced filters lose their functionality again.

    Following the report you outlined in your comment, you should simply be able to click on the specific ad group and see the keywords queried in that ad group - no need to cross segment at that point if you already drilled down to ad groups unless you want to see all the keywords that were queried at the campaign level…

    Filters are never 100% functional because they can’t always capture the exact keyword - there are content issues, people that don’t accept cookies, browser errors, etc. They will definitely give a marketer a much better picture than without them though and they fill in the blanks that you get with the “other unique query” rows in a Search Query Report via AdWords’ Report Center.

    Thanks for your questions and comments! :)


  52. Zoe (2 comments.) Says:

    Cool, it’s working!!!! I did not implement the second fix yet, but plan to. This is great, thanks James.

  53. Zoe (2 comments.) Says:

    James, can you tell me how to correctly read the report I mentioned above, with the filter turned on (Overview » AdWords Campaign » AdWords Campaign Ad Groups »)? Some keyword phrases are listed without any real search terms in parentheses e.g.,

    red and blue shoes

    and some are listed like this:

    red and blue shoes (red+and+blue+shoes+chicago+il)

    Are those listed without parentheses searches that match exactly the search terms I’m running ads on, or is there some combo of analytics regular keyword reporting and reporting using your filter going on? Are searches where the filter isn’t able to determine the original search term are lumped into standard analytics keyword phrases?


  54. BJ Wright (3 comments.) Says:

    I have a similar question as Zoe about how to read the new data that is appearing in my reports. Here is how they are showing up in my reports:

    car insurance, (car+insurance)
    car insurance

    What is the difference? This is fairly important to find out because I seem to be getting all my conversion from the second keyword (car insurance) with a lower amount of traffic.


    BJ Wright

  55. jameszol Says:

    BJ and I took the conversation to the email airwaves…but here’s a follow up to BJ’s comment:

    You’re right BJ, looking back via keywords to see what hit a goal that way isn’t visible - and I think it’s a bug.

    Here is how to view conversions:

    In Analytics, look at your left menu and click Content ->Top Content -> Look for your goal page(s) and click on your goal page in the Top Content list -> find the cross segment drop down below the graph and choose ‘keywords’…you should see all the keywords that converted that way.

  56. fradefra (1 comments.) Says:

    Many thanks for this secret, that i use from now :)

  57. [email protected] (1 comments.) Says:

    Thank you very much!!! :-)

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  62. Goran Web (1 comments.) Says:

    Brilliant, I have scowered the web and you are the first blog to give me the information that I was looking for awesome, going to try it out right now. Thanks

  63. Tom Says:

    Does anybody know what the current status on this it? Has the filter hack stopped working again??

  64. Erik Says:

    I tried it, but it gives me only (not set). I don’t understand what I am doing wrong. I looked at a friends account, who did exactly the same thing a while ago and it worked….
    But mine doesn’t work. Anyone knows why?

  65. Andres Says:

    Hi, any news on the status of this. I have 2 accounts for 2 different sites. It works in one and in the other it doesn’t.

    The main difference is that in the one it works I use the utm parameters tagging, even in Adwords as opposed to auto-tagging with gclid.

    Cheers, Andres

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  67. ethan chong (1 comments.) Says:

    I’ve my existing analytic profile installed. But when i create a new profile and follow your steps, it end up saying “Tracking not installed”.

    Correct me if i’m wrong, when i create a new analytic profile, i don’t have to install a new tracking code again. Right?

  68. jameszol Says:

    Hi Ethan!

    Actually, every time you create a NEW profile, a NEW code is created for your sites.

    When you want to copy the existing profile you would toggle the option that says “Use Existing Profile”. :)


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