• Date 18th February 2015

Chances are you probably use paid search as a channel to drive traffic, sales, or connect people with your brand. Understanding the ins and outs of the Adwords platform will improve returns on your efforts.

Regardless of whether you manage an Adwords account yourself, or get help from an agency, understanding how the ‘Search Term Report’ works will help protect your brand, optimise your spend and help you ask the right questions to constantly improve.

Depending on your experience level, you may or may not be familiar with Search Term Reports. In basic terms, it’s a list of search terms that people have used before seeing your ad and clicking it. You’ll find it in your keywords tab, above the table under the “Keyword details” button.

Normally, we draw a phrase-match search term report at least once a month. Why? Four simple reasons:

1. To ‘Negative’ Out Unwanted Search Terms

You may not want to appear on a search engine for some terms, ie. if you have a swimming pool company you probably don’t want to show ads when people are searching for pool tables. Unless “tables” is “negatived” out, phrase match “pool” can be triggered by this search term

An unmanaged negative list can negatively impact on your overall performance. When you think about it, keywords triggered by less relevant ads mean lower click-through rates, higher cost per clicks and a worse experience overall

2. To find New Keyword Possibilities

Use phrase match to determine what search terms are triggering your ads

Often you’ll overlook a keyword which doesn’t initially seem important. But by showing you terms that you haven’t specifically targeted, your report will help you capture and add these in to your campaign as exact & phrase match targeted keywords. The upshot being lower cost per clicks on these match types.

If you do this diligently over a month or so, the Report should only show you those keywords you’ve specifically selected which will give you better control of what you bid on, as well as the specific message & URL users will see.

3. Finding Misspellings & Brand Protection

If you’ve got a complicated or unusual brand name, you could end up with loads of different variations. So it might be worth adding a couple of misspellings to your keyword list to ensure people always have visibility of your brand

It’s also worth checking for and “negativing out” irrelevant search terms triggered by your brand name to ensure brand safety

4. Customer Insights

Nothing gives you insight into someone’s state of mind like the Search Term Report. Regardless of whether users are emotive, verbose or utilitarian, the report will provide invaluable insight into how they ‘re thinking when looking for your brand and category

Observing people’s search behaviour will allow you to better tailor ad copy and website content to meet their needs. It can inspire a new way of segmenting users, improve the path to purchase or even drive new product development.

Search Term Report generation should be part of day-to-day campaign management. No-one wants their ads showing up for an inappropriate search term, or conversely, not showing up at all for vital keywords.

Beyond finding new keyword possibilities and improving brand safety, the Search Term Report is a great tool to help understand your customers better.

Strategically, these insights are a hugely valuable input when planning activity. After all what better consumer research tool could you have than survey panel made up of your entire market?

Better input always leads to greater outcomes

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