I’m sure everyone has read the updates about Google blocking paid search data: Not Provided Slams Paid Search. Here it comes, the sky is falling. Nothing will be the same. Well, my suspicion is that it won’t be so bad.
Let me walk you through it…
This is about queries, not keywords:
In an organic world, the keyword is the same thing as the query. In a PPC world, the two are not always the same. So, when Google says they are stripping the referring data out of the URL, and stopping third parties from receiving this, this means something totally different than it would for organic data.
The AdWords API won’t be affected:
A lot of tools get their query data from the AdWords API, which won’t be affected. This article contains a quote from Marin: Google Starts Blocking Access to Paid Search Keyword Data. Most tools are going to keep bidding fine. There might be a few tools or services that infer some data from the query string, so that software might be affected.
If Google Analytics is affected:
I looked in Google Analytics and haven’t seen any (not provided) in paid keywords or queries in the AdWords Matched Search Queries. It remains to be seen whether this is meant to be a roll-out process, or if Google Analytics will still get the query data. Google specified that “third parties” won’t be receiving it for the moment, but there is always the possibility that Google Analytics will be affected in the near-future.
I don’t believe URL tagging will be affected by this change, because the destination URLs will still go through. In my head, that means that keywords should be passed through just fine.
The advantage of Google Analytics is seeing how the individual keyword/query performs to different pages on the site. Imagine a large ecommerce-site with tons of site search and categories. This will likely affect the users of broad match and much-less-structured campaigns more than other campaigns, but those people may not be using the data anyway. So, if Google Analytics stops receiving the queries, it will be the power Analytics users who are affected more than anyone else. Perhaps other providers of analytics tools might be the ones hit hardest by the change.
Long story short:
There may be some unexpected consequences, but this may also be a whole lot of worry over very little.
Crossing my fingers
Let us know what your prediction is in the comment section below!