Yesterday Google announced that they will no longer pass Keyword data from Ads on Google to analytics packages in order to keep searches secure. This follows the previous changes to the data provided from organic search queries.
What is (not provided)?
Back in 2011 Google began to send an increasing percentage of users to the SSL encrypted version of their search engine in order to “protect their privacy”. The secure version of Google doesn’t pass their Keyword data (the search terms they entered) into analytics packages including Google Analytics. This eventually lead to most website visits via Google organic search being registered under the keyword (not provided). At the time this only applied to organic searches and keyword data was provided for Campaigns using Google’s AdWords PPC platform. Yesterday’s change means that analytics packages won’t provide keyword data when a user has clicked on a PPC ad on Google, instead the keyword will be represented as (not provided). For now the change is on Google.com but we expect it to roll out across other localised versions including Google.co.uk soon.
What Does This Actually Change?
The short answer is nothing. Keyword data will no longer be appended to referral URLs but this doesn’t mean that this data is lost, it simply means that it wont enter your analytics package in this way. The data is still available in AdWords and from there it can be imported into Google Analytics or exported via the AdWords API for use in PPC management platforms such as Marin who report that their service will be unaffected. When we report on Keyword data for our Google PPC campaigns we take this data directly from AdWords so this won’t change anything for us. If you have issues with finding keyword data in Analytics make sure that you have connected your AdWords and Analytics accounts and the chances are this won’t affect you at all.