A question recently came across my desk regarding the use of the Matched Search Queries Report in Analytics when compared to the Keyword Details Report in AdWords.
The inquirer was interested in the benefits or drawbacks to both reports, also asking if they were interchangeable. I figured this was a great question to answer in the Search & Analytics field, so I’ll do my best to define and give my opinion regarding the pros, cons and interchangeability of these two complex reports.
First, we need to understand what each report provides data-wise. Let’s take a look at the basic data available for each one.
Matched Search Queries Report
This report offers insights into the keywords searched for that lead to paid advertising conversions. This report only includes AdWords data. Its standard information, without altering and creating custom reports based on this report, includes the following:
- Pages per Visit
- Average Visit Duration
- % New Visits
- Bounce Rate
- Goal Completions
The e-commerce tab of the report offers additional data:
- Average Value
- E-commerce Conversion Rate
- Per Visit Value
With this data, I can apply advanced filters, or custom filters, to single out a variety of segments of traffic. I can also look at search query versus landing page or exit page data using the secondary dimension feature. This data is much easier to manipulate.
With the matched search query report, we also have the option of looking at the data by match type. Knowing what types of keywords lead to the most revenue can help you make decisions about how you bid on keywords, as well as what types of keywords are worth the impressions as you build up to creating conversions.
I found it very interesting that in the data sample I looked at, Exact match keywords created more visits and more conversions, but less revenue overall. Broad match keywords created nearly double the revenue, with half the transactions. Phrase match keywords had the fewest visits and conversions, along with the lowest per-visit value.
Pros & Cons For Matched Search Queries Report
Below is the list of pros and cons for the Matched Search Queries Report.
- Shows data by match type
- Can apply Advanced Segments to this data easily, which is helpful if you’ve built custom segments by demographic or geographic location
- Can compare PPC performance against organic performance, overall performance, or just specific segments of traffic fairly easily
- Easily see e-commerce data applied to each keyword, and to each match type
- View keyword data by landing page
- If you work in Excel to manipulate data, you can’t get all the data out in one dump; you’ll need to dump multiple reports and marry them together in a spreadsheet
- You can’t easily see AdGroup level data here; however, you can get it by using a secondary dimension, then export to Excel, then sort and filter to find what I need, but it’s a bit “clunky”
AdWords Keyword Details Report
First, if you’re a beginner, you might not know where to find this information. It’s not something that is front and center, glaring you in the face. I think it should be, but Google doesn’t right now. You’ll find the keyword detail report here:
You can look at this for all campaigns, a single campaign, or a single AdGroup within a campaign. When you’re diagnosing issues with keywords, and landing page issues, this report, in its most drilled-down format, can be very helpful. You can add 24 different data points to this report. I’m not going to list all 24 here, but what this report doesn’t show is going to be pretty apparent in the “cons” section below
I’m a big fan of the data in the Keyword Details report. It’s much more reliable and realistic than just managing PPCs based on the keywords you’re bidding on. In my opinion, PPC managers should spend a great deal of time deep into this data. The keyword you’ve bid on tells only half the story. Because of the great variety of match types, what your ads actually show up for holds much more weight than what you’re bidding on.
I also like the ability to add up to 24 different data points to one report and then have the ability to dump this all out into an Excel spreadsheet. This is much faster than dumping 3 reports and copying and pasting them together as we do in the Match Search Queries report.
Pros & Cons For AdWords Keyword Details Report
Here are the pros and cons to the Keyword Details Report from my point of view. If you have other pros and cons, please feel free to share with the group in the comments section below!
- You can find the Keywords that trigger your Product Listing Ads with this report. If you’re running these with a hookup to the Google Merchant Center, you know how difficult that data is to find. Just filter the report for all campaigns down to your Product Listing Ads AdGroup or Campaign.
- You can add up to 24 columns of data to this report and export it all to Excel. This makes the data much easier to manipulate much more quickly.
- You’re given the keyword that you’ve bid on, with match type, that generated the actual keyword the searcher queried.
- I can see if I have AdGroups or campaigns that are competing for the same term. If I sort the actual query by a single phrase – “Red Widgets,” I can see how many different AdGroups contain keywords I’m bidding on that generate that phrase.
- I can see much more granular AdGroup data here. While AdGroup data is available via a secondary dimension in Analytics, it requires sorting, etc. to get there.
- Even though you’re able to add 24 different data points to this report, you’re not given the site-specific data in the AdWords report. There’s no bounce rate, average time on site, average page views, etc., available when you’re working solely in AdWords.
- There is no revenue data here. This seems like something that should be there, but it’s not available. I can see the cost, and the number of conversions, and the cost per conversion; but, I cannot see the revenue or the revenue per conversion. Cost per conversion is a figure that needs to be compared to revenue; you’ll have to do this in Excel or build a custom analytics report if you need this data (and you should).
- It’s very hard to apply demographic or geographic filters to any data in AdWords. This is much easier in Analytics using Advanced Custom Filters.
Reports Are Not Interchangeable
While I think these reports are both very valuable, they are not interchangeable. Each offers insights that make them both important. I think if there were a way to dump the data from both reports into one Excel sheet, having all the queries match up – it would be an extremely powerful tool. Right now, I cannot find anyone who has done this any other way than manual entry. If you know of one, I’d be very excited to see it and to share it with the group.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.