Google plans to apply “Not Provided” to paid search query data

Apr 10th, 2014

Last night, Google announced further changes to their user security features that currently result in around 80% of organic search keyword data appearing as ‘(Not Provided)’

Further details are yet to be released, but the change appears to be minor in terms of how the majority of reporting and optimisation techniques we use will be affected.  As such, there is no need to worry about the change at this stage.

The technical bit

The SSL encryption currently in place for people who are logged into Google or use Google Chrome as a browser (around 80% of users) will now also remove the ‘query’ from the referrer on ad clicks.
‘query’ is the search query actually entered into a search box, which is not always exactly the same as the keywords which triggers an ad. This will mainly affect advertisers using the query in the referrer for reporting, automated keyword generation or landing page customisation. Follow this link for the official Google update

The biggest loss

We do expect to see around 80% of ‘Matched Search Query’ data to become not provided in Google Analytics. However this will not affect keyword data in Analytics or Search Query data in AdWords.

Our top tip

If you rely on Google Analytics data to manage your paid advertising, make sure that you have AdWords Conversion Tracking setup as well. This way you can still see conversion data in your ‘AdWords Search Terms’ report and won’t have to rely on the fragmented ‘Matched Search Query’ data.


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