PPC Management: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!

By jameszol
Published on December 19, 2007

Introducing our semvironment PPC Management series where we expose some of the best ppc management

secrets ever!

_______________________________________

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 -

(\?|&)(q|p|query|kw|searchfor|wd)=([^&]*)

I’ll update the image later – but the q|p…etc will effectively pull almost all queries from the url at the serp. Each search engine uses a different url parameter for this so if you find one you want to track, simply add it to the regex above using the bar | to separate them. The above regex was copied from the search lab.

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

cpc|ppc

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

$A3

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)

Some replicated posts detail using $B1, $A1 without parenthesis – and I haven’t seen any difference in results so it appears either way should work fine.

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. :)

One note regarding GOALS

We published a post detailing how to see your keyword data for Goals/conversions. :) Enjoy!

That’s a wrap! Your AdWords Keyword Data is now EXPOSED!

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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97 Responses to “PPC Management: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google Analytics!”

  1. jameszol says:

    Zoe,

    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! :)

    -James

  2. Zoe (2 comments.) says:

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

  3. 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?

    Zoe

  4. 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.

    Thanks,

    BJ Wright

  5. 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.

  6. fradefra (1 comments.) says:

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

  7. [email protected] (1 comments.) says:

    Thank you very much!!! :-)

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  12. 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

  13. Tom says:

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

  14. 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?

  15. 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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  17. 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?

  18. 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”. :)

    -James

  19. Digital Agency Manchester (1 comments.) says:

    Nice one James – it has taken me too long to get hold of a hack like this – nice work…

    Silv

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  21. Dom says:

    Excellent article, thanks.

    I was thinking about how this could be improved.

    For example, the data this report generates is related to keywords which generate clicks.

    What about the keywords which don’t generate clicks?

    Is it possible to identify the keywords brought in on broad/phrase match which generate impressions but fail to generate any clicks?

  22. Sahaj (1 comments.) says:

    Knowing the exact keywords people typed and then clicked on your ads is extremelly useful. I don’t know why Google Analytics doesn’t show those keywords instead of the broad match ones. I wrote about this not long time back, Best PPC Practice – Exact Keywords.

    @Dom
    GA only tracks keywords with clicks.

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  24. Traveloease (1 comments.) says:

    an excellent post…thanks for sharing…i would be implementing this in my account very soon and hope it will give more clear picture of the keywords to work with…

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  26. ossie (1 comments.) says:

    Great tip guys this is awesome would never have known such a thing will definitely help in weeding out those bad keywords and finding more negative matches

  27. Dan Adwords Professional (6 comments.) says:

    i’ve been using the filter, it works great EXCEPT for this….

    it is not reporting my goal conversions

    Help

  28. Dan (6 comments.) says:

    anyone else having problems with tracking goals using this technique?

  29. Joel Hughes (2 comments.) says:

    Hi,
    great article – this is killer information for me.

    Can I ask a question though. You say:
    20. In Output To -> Constructor choose the Campaign Term drop down and copy and paste this code into the available field -

    $B1, ($A1)

    ..however, on this URL http://www.seoptimise.com/blog/2008/11/a-google-analytics-trick-everyone-should-know.html

    it says “Finally in the “Output To -> Constructor” menu choose “Campaign Term” or wherever you want your data to go and then enter “$B1, $A1” The space after the comma means that you can export your data to a .csv and have a separate field for the actual search term.”

    …what is the difference betweeen saying “$B1, ($A1)” and “$B1, $A1″?

    thanks

    Joel

  30. jameszol says:

    Sorry to all recent commentators! We have been traveling and insanely busy – but that is not a reason to leave you in the dark.

    @Dan – I’m checking into why the filter isn’t tracking all the way to the goals.

    We should be updating this post soon, it’s at the top of my list so I should actually get it done today (2/18) or tomorrow.

    @Joel – I’ll address your question in the update, it’s a very good question!

  31. Joel Hughes (2 comments.) says:

    Thanks James – I’ll look forward to that – my current implementation of this (even though I’ve checked everything a bazillion) is still showing “google (organic)” “yahoo (organic)” etc in “traffic sources”) so there must be something wrong as I assume I should only be seeing PPC traffic here?

    Joel

  32. Sean (1 comments.) says:

    Great Piece of work.

    Is there a way you can see the search terms that people used that did not click your ad ; ).

  33. Joe (1 comments.) says:

    I have followed the directions for setting up the filters EXACTLY – went over it with a fine tooth comb for possible errors in implementation – and they are working BUT…next to the keywords I am seeing the entire URL string, not simply the keywords (keyword1+keyword2+keyword3). Can anyone help?

  34. Dan PPCPROZ (6 comments.) says:

    Hi James,

    have you managed to figure out the goals issue?

    Thanks,

    Dan

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  36. Chewy says:

    Yes this is a great piece of work, no doubt!

    However, I just noticed that this stopped working on about March 21.

    Anyone else notice it?

    We’ve made no additional changes – and it was working fine up until then.

    Thanks,

    -C

  37. Paul says:

    I had the filters all setup and workingd beautifully until late March 2009.

    Now I am not seeing any keyword data in my filtered profile, although my unfiltered profile is showing data.

    I haven’t changed anything, so it appears the filters have just stopped working. Has anyone else seen this? Any ideas what has happened?

  38. UK Magazines (2 comments.) says:

    Thanks for your help. I was really looking for the way to know the actual keywords which are originating traffic to my website via my adwords account.

  39. A Guide to Google Analytics and Useful Tools « Tech7.Net says:

    [...] PPC Management: AdWords Keyword Data Exposed With Google AnalyticsYou CAN expose your specific AdWords Keyword Data beyond the dreaded “other unique queries” in the AdWords Search Query Report with Google Analytics. [...]

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  42. Gautam says:

    Is this method still works?
    I saw some posts (#87) saying that it stopped working around 03/2009!!

    Any response is greatly appreciated.

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  45. sandrar (1 comments.) says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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  47. Philippa Chin-Sang (1 comments.) says:

    This filters work really well and we are able to see the actual query. However is anyone else seeing the issue of the differences in the # of visits, avg. page views & the avg. time on site stats?
    I have an unfiltered profile and one with the filter and these values differ across the two profiles. The unfiltered has just one entry for the term area rugs, where as the one with the filter has multiple entries, but the average of the multiple entries does not always match that of the unfiltered profile. Did you find this, which is right? Let me know if anyone else is seeign this.

    Thanks
    Philippa

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