How Affiliates Can Adapt to Google’s Decreased Search Term Visibility

Mapping Reports to the Google Ads UI | AdWords API | Google Developers

Earlier this Fall, Google made alterations to the search terms report in their Google Ads platform.

“We are updating the search terms report to only include terms that were searched by a significant number of users. As a result you may see fewer terms in your report going forward.”

Unfortunately, those alterations are providing advertisers with fewer user search queries than ever before.  

Despite Google stating that they’re only eliminating terms that aren’t searched by a significant number of users, this still ultimately translates to less data for advertisers

This is concerning for affiliates because the search terms report has always provided valuable information that assists with campaign optimization.

It’s important to note that Google has never disclosed ALL search queries. They’ve always stated that many private or sensitive searches are not displayed in the search terms report. However, this recent change shifts the visible/hidden ratio.   

This reduction in search term visibility is concerning for several reasons:

  • It makes it more difficult to analyze trends and discover common themes among low-click queries
  • Creating single-word ad groups becomes more challenging
  • It can lead to lower ad bidding which could translate to reduced conversion rates

If you’re unhappy about this change, your only real choice if you want to continue using the platform is to adapt. This is the case with most major ad platform modifications.

Google would not have made the change in the first place if they didn’t plan on keeping it in place.

Luckily for you, being an affiliate means you’re well equipped at adapting.

Here’s what we suggest you do if this change is affecting your Google Ads performance.

1. Utilize other Platforms

If you also use Microsoft/Bing ads to obtain search traffic, you can apply some of the information you gain in that platform’s search terms report to Google Ads.

There’s been no indication that Microsoft will be limiting search queries like Google. Running similar search term reports will provide you with search queries that can assist you in adding negative and positive keywords in your Google Ads campaigns.

2. Continue to Optimize

Although you may now have less data to utilize, it’s just as important as ever to use whatever you can to optimize your campaigns.

Keep in mind that the search data that Google will continue to show you is ultimately the most important. You’ll still be receiving substantial search data that you can use to determine how to improve.

2. Use Google’s Keyword Planner

You might already be using this tool, but if you’re not, doing so can assist you in combating reduced search term visibility.

It’s useful because it can help you research potential searches which you can use to further optimize your campaigns. This will provide you with additional insight which can assist you in your decision-making.

4. Explore other Traffic Sources

If you find that this change is hindering your ability to find success with search ads. This could be a good time to experiment with those other traffic sources you’ve been eyeing.

Whether you’re looking to get into email, display, native, or social, diversifying your affiliate skillset is always valuable if you plan on having a long career in affiliate marketing.