The ROI Revolution Blog

Power Using the New AdWords Interface, Part 1: Integrated Search Query Reports

May 13, 2009

PhotoImage_QueryManagement thumbnail.jpgAs many of you are probably aware, whether through your own experiences with AdWords or from my colleague Katherine Anderson’s article last month, AdWords has recently launched a shiny new user interface (UI), and with it several new toys for advertisers to play with.

All of the added features in the new UI are aimed at making the day-to-day work involved with managing an AdWords account faster, simpler, and better integrated. And while the list of changes made from the old AdWords interface is pretty comprehensive, there are 2 new features that warrant special mention: Integrated Search Query Reports and its content network cousin, Integrated Placement Performance Reports.

These two tools work together as a one-two punch that allows you to micro manage your ads’ presence on both the AdWords search and content networks. Essentially, they provide you with on the fly insight into how AdWords is matching your keywords to search queries and website content in the interface itself, without forcing you to the reports tab, leaving your work on a separate page. With these updates, Google has taken 2 of the most powerful reports available in the reports center, and integrated them directly into the interface’s control bar.

Over the course of this two part series, I’ll show you how to use both of these reports in the new UI to increase traffic, decrease wasteful spend, and get you more bang for your AdWords buck.

Since the search network is the bread and butter of most AdWords accounts, we’ll start this week with the Search Query Report (SQR). This report will show you the exact search queries Google users entered when they clicked on your ad. It is useful for both finding negative keywords, as well as relevant new keywords you may have overlooked when you set up your ad groups.

Google has simplified the process for finding this information considerably in its newest iteration of AdWords. To see the exact search queries that triggered your ads, select the individual keywords you want to run the report for by checking the boxes to the left of the keywords. Alternatively, you can forego the selection process and click on the See search terms button and select all.

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Click the button and wait a moment to see your list of queries.

Don’t forget that the list of queries is generated based on the date range you have selected in the upper right of the AdWords interface. If your report comes up empty, try increasing your date range so AdWords has more data to work with.

Once your report is ready, you’ll see the search queries laid out on the left with all the familiar performance metrics to the right. From this list you can sort by any metric you wish. I usually sort by cost to see which queries are spending the most ad dollars first. By scrolling down the list, you can scan for any irrelevant queries to add as negative keywords.

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In the old interface, after scanning through pages of query reports and manually creating a list of the negative keywords, you had to then go back to the campaign manager to add the negatives to your campaigns and ad groups individually. In the new UI however, Google has refined the process considerably, allowing you to check the box next to any search query listed and add it as a negative keyword from within the report itself, saving you clicks and more importantly time.

When you’ve checked all the queries you wish to add as negatives, click the Add as negative keyword button at the top of the report. You’ll then be given a window where you can edit the negative keywords and select the negative match type (broad, phrase or exact) before you submit them to your ad group. Finally, click Save and you’ve added your customized list as negative keywords in just a few clicks!

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Don’t forget that you can use these Integrated Search Query Reports to find keywords that may have slipped through the cracks when you were initially building your ad groups. Among search queries, it is common to come across variations of your existing keywords picked up via broad match that sport high clickthrough rate or conversion rate. Using the same procedure above, these queries can be added to the current ad group by clicking the Add as keyword button instead of the Add as negative keyword button. You can even specify the a keyword level bid for each keyword you add.

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When I come across one such keyword, I’ll often take the opportunity to add that keyword to the existing ad group or an ad group of its own (depending on how the account is structured), and expand upon it using the keyword tool. This classic method of account optimization can pay big dividends in more traffic, higher CTR, and if you’re relevant, higher conversion rate. Running search query reports regularly helps ensure a constant influx of new keywords to continually expand your reach.

In my follow up post, I’ll show you how the new AdWords UI has made managing the content network a breeze with its real time Integrated Placement Performance Reports. These new reports make managing placements work just like managing keywords, and will allow you to maximize traffic from sites that will convert well while cutting out sites that spend hundreds of dollars without a single conversion.

If you’re stoked about these breakthrough features in the new AdWords interface, and would like to learn about even more new features and their advantages, be sure to check out our new AdWords user interface webinar where you’ll see how the new AdWords User Interface will save you hours of your limited time, help you cut wasted adspend, and discover hew highly relevant keywords and placements to scale your online profits!

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