Google’s Paid Search Announcement: How It May Change the Ad Space


ADOTAS – The search query is a fundamental piece of the paid search puzzle – a critical building block that helps advertisers understand their consumers and guide program optimization.

Test Field & Execution

In October 2011, Google introduced encrypted search for users logged into a Google account. By September 2013, Google quietly began encrypting all user search activity, a significant change that effectively eliminated the ability for advertisers and publishers to see inbound queries from Google. At the time, paid search queries were still unaffected; however, a similar change to the paid realm remained an unanswered possibility.

Until now.

Earlier this month, Google announced that they are removing the query referrer of paid search URLs.

Here’s the good news: Google is not leaving us entirely without data. The top 2,000 organic queries can still be accessed through Webmaster Tools, and paid search queries will still be available to advertisers via the AdWords search terms report.

The catch? Google will no longer supply third party tools and platforms with paid search query data.

As far as we know, we will continue to receive the AdWords query data that’s become the go-to source for advertisers.

However, there are plenty of reasons to miss that third-party data:

  • AdWords provides less granular search query data than third party platforms. Less data means less accurate decision-making (read: lower ad relevancy and, potentially, higher ad spend)
  • AdWords search query reports use AdWords conversion pixels, which can require additional tagging to view query conversions. Additionally, some advertisers would prefer not to provide Google with conversion values.
  • AdWords conversion pixels will not provide de-duplicated actions, as it will not be tied to the analytical platform of record.

Google’s move to secure paid search URLs brings greater security to its users, as well as consistency to the company’s recent decision to secure organic URLs.

However, that same security may come at the cost of declining ad relevancy, if advertisers are no longer able to make data driven decisions to negate search queries that do not end in conversions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here