An intriguing keynote with Google at SMX West this year ignited into a flurry of speculation this week as marketers discussed whether Google would stop providing PPC keyword data, just as it stopped providing organic keyword data beginning in October 2011.

This evening, Google officially announced  changes to the way they will provide keyword data to website owners and pay-per-click advertisers. A user’s search query is no longer available to any third-party call analytics or web analytics provider, including CallRail. Here’s the core change:

Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com.

Good News: AdWords Keyword Data Is Still Available

However, you’ll need to make a few simple revisions to your account from AdWords’ changes so your PPC keyword data is passed to CallRail.

Google’s recommended Best Practice is now to send the keyword data using the ValueClick parameters.

We suggest using the keyword that generated the ad click, rather than the query. The keyword and match type can be passed to your web server by using a ValueTrack parameter in your destination URLs.

Better News: Keyword Data Will Be More Accurate and More Reliable

In the past, CallRail has detected the user’s actual search term.  Often, the user’s search query varied from the keyword that you bid on in your AdWords account, due to Google’s Phrase Match, Broad Match, and Expanded Broad Match.  By passing the keyword using the ValueTrack parameter, you’ll see the exact query that you’re bidding on, which will make it easier to see exactly which of your ads are driving phone calls.

How Do I Set It Up?

To receive Google’s ValueTrack data, you’ll have to add one simple parameter to your Google AdWords landing page URLs:

keyword={keyword}

For example, if your website is example.com, and your landing page is http://www.example.com/bluewidgets/, you would change your landing page to be “http://www.example.com/bluewidgets/?keyword={keyword}“.  (Note that you literally put {keyword} in the URL — Google will automatically substitute it with the actual keyword when sending a visitor to your website.)

http://www.example.com/bluewidgets/ -> becomes
http://www.example.com/bluewidgets/?keyword={keyword}

Once you update your landing page URLs in AdWords, CallRail will automatically detect the new data and display the keywords in your dashboard.

Conversion reporting to Google Analytics and Google AdWords is unaffected by this new change and will continue to work as normal.

If you need assistance making these changes to your AdWords account, please reach out to our support team at support@callrail.com. We will be more than happy to assist you!

What’s the Opportunity in the Long Term?

We’re excited by the information we can unlock about your callers through the ValueTrack data.  In the coming weeks, we’re going to to roll out changes that will allow you to analyze even more dimensions using data that can be provided by ValueTrack, such as Match Type, Ad Position, Display Ad Creative, Display Placements, and Device Type.

As always, we take pride in bringing you powerful call analytics software that helps you make smarter decisions about your marketing, and we’re working continuously to deliver on that promise.

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