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Don’t Waste Your Money – Use the Google Ads Search Term Report and Advertise More Effectively
January 18, 2020

To succeed in your advertising, high demands are reliant on continuous optimization. Going through the search term report in Google Ads is a crucial strategy to make sure you are only paying for relevant clicks and, in doing so, drive valuable traffic to your business. In this article, we will describe how to use this feature best.

Using the search term report of Google Ads, you get instant information about which searches trigger your ad to appear. This report can be found under Keywords -> Search Terms, well inside the Google Ads interface.

The way you should use the search term report depends on the purpose of the advertising, but in many cases, it can be about reaching out with ads to the person willing to convert behind the search.

First, we will highlight the difference between keywords and search terms, so it becomes apparent. A keyword is a word you select and bid on, which will trigger your ad. Search term is what the person behind the search enters in Google’s search box, which then triggers the advertisement in question.

Before you begin, make sure you are looking at the campaigns you want to analyze, and that the time interval is set correctly.

You will get a list of lines on various searches, which you have to go through to decide and ask yourself the question, “Do I want my ad to be visible when someone searches for this?”.

If the answer is yes, you can move on to the next line. If the answer is no, you should mark the search term to add it as a negative keyword, and in this way, you ensure that your ad will not appear on searches containing that word in the future.

Now you can choose to exclude only the keyword for the campaign triggered by the search or use a negative keyword list shared with most campaigns.

As a rule, we usually advise using negative keyword lists that should be applied to all of the campaigns, as a negative keyword can generally be excluded on an account level. For example, the word “used” in case you sell new books.

It is also worth mentioning which parameters you should take into account when analyzing the search term report. We advise using the following:

  • -Cost
  • -Conversions
  • -Views
  • -Click

Find new keywords for your advertising

Just as you exclude keywords, you can also find new keywords that are valuable to your business. If you run an e-commerce site that sells shoes, where you see in the search term report that the search “Red Nike air max” has a high click-through rate and a good number of conversions, then the next natural step may be to break this keyword down into your own campaign and ad group.

The reason you want to do this is to ensure your visibility and budget on this keyword, but also to be able to control the ad text more granularly.

If you have a campaign with the keyword “Nike Air Max”, then you should add the word “red” as a negative keyword in that campaign. This prevents your keywords from competing with each other and ensures that you get the right ad for the proper search.

How often should I review the search term report?

How often you should go through the search term report is a matter of time. We would recommend that this should be done as a rule every fortnight. Of course, everything depends on the size of the advertising account and which industry you are in. It goes without saying that there are more searches with a larger flow of goods for a retail trade company versus a more static B2B industry.

You will also find search terms in your shopping campaigns.

Remember that there is also a search term report for your Google shopping campaigns. However, if you run a “smart-shopping campaign,” this function is unfortunately not available.

As with text campaigns, you work with the search terms on Google shopping. Of course, it is noteworthy that we do not use keywords in shopping, but it is entirely about adding and excluding irrelevant traffic through negative keywords.