Understanding your Keyword Planner statistics and traffic forecasts

With Keyword Planner, you can see various historical statistics alongside your keyword and ad group ideas, like the average number of searches for a keyword. Keyword Planner also gives you keyword traffic forecasts, like how many clicks your keywords might get for various bid and budget amounts.

Once you've entered or uploaded your keywords, your statistics and forecasts appear in graphs and a table with columns so you can easily view and sort the information. And you can see your results broken down by device and location. Then, you can use the data to choose keywords or ad groups that can help you better reach your advertising goals.

To get historical stats, select Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups. And to get click and cost forecasts, select Get traffic forecasts for a list of keywords.

What your search volume statistics mean

When you search for keyword and ad group ideas, or choose to get historical statistics like search volume for a list of keywords, you'll see a table with historical statistics. It's important to keep in mind that all of these statistics are specific to the location, date range, and Search Network targeting settings that you select from the "Targeting" panel.

Here's what the data in each column means:

  • Average monthly searches ("Avg. monthly searches"): The average number of times people have searched for the exact keyword based on the location and Search Network targeting that you've selected. We average the number of searches for the term over a 12-month period.
  • Competition: The number of advertisers that showed on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google. Note that this data is specific to the location and Search Network targeting that you've selected. In the "Competition" column, you can see whether the competition for a keyword is low, medium, or high.
  • Suggested bid: Your suggested bid is calculated by taking into account the costs-per-click (CPCs) that advertisers are paying for this keyword for the location and Search Network settings you've selected. The amount is only a forecast, and your actual cost-per-click may vary.
  • Ad impression share: The number of impressions you've received divided by the total number of searches for the location and network you’re targeting that matched the keyword exactly in the last calendar month. Keep in mind that the ad impression share column in Keyword Planner is different than the impression share and exact match impression share columns in campaign management. They are based on the number of impressions you were eligible to receive for a keyword. On the other hand, ad impression share is based on the search volume for that exact keyword. When you see a dash (-) in the ad impression share column, that means we don’t have enough data to calculate this number.

Example

Let's say you search for keyword ideas for a campaign promoting your Cabo San Lucas luxury resort to people in the United Kingdom who are searching on Google.co.uk.

You might see that on a monthly average, 1000 searches for the term luxury hotel deals are performed. You'll also see that the competition for this keyword is high and that the average cost-per-click for this keyword is US$1.20. You can use these statistics to help you decide if the keyword luxury hotel deals will help you reach your advertising goals, like driving traffic to your website.

Here are some things to keep in mind about your historical statistics:

  • Your search volume statistics are rounded. This means that when you get keyword ideas for multiple locations, the search volumes might not add up as you'd expect.
  • Web traffic is influenced by seasonality, current events, and a number of other factors. Therefore, the number of searches on your keywords is constantly fluctuating.
  • Your estimated impressions take your bid, budget, and historical ad quality into account, but your search volume statistics don’t. Also, your search volume is determined only for exact keyword matches, while your estimated impressions are based on your selected match types. 

Tip

You should choose keywords based on quality over quantity. That's because more relevant keywords are likely to give you better results -- keywords with higher search traffic or more advertiser competition won't necessarily help you reach your advertising goals.

What your traffic forecasts mean

When you use Keyword Planner to get traffic forecasts for your keywords, you'll see an overview of them on the graph and more detailed forecasts in the table.

Here's what the forecasts mean:

  • Clicks: The number of clicks your ad might receive each day if the keyword were to trigger the ad.
  • Impression ("Impr."): How often your ad might show in a day. An impression is counted each time an ad is shown on a search results page.
  • Average position ("Avg. Pos."): The average position on a search results page that your ad might appear in when the keyword triggers the ad to show. '1' is the highest position on the first page of search results. Keywords with an average position of 1-8 generally trigger ads on the first page of search results, while keywords with an average position of 9-16 generally trigger ads on the second page, and so on. An average position of '1.7,' for example, means your ad usually appears in positions 1 or 2. Average positions are not fixed; they may vary depending on various performance factors.
  • Cost: The average amount you might spend per day for this keyword.
  • Clickthrough rate ("CTR"): The ratio of the number of clicks that your ad might receive divided by the number of times your ad might be shown (which we call an impression).
  • Average cost-per-click ("Avg. CPC"): The average amount you might pay for a click. We automatically adjust the final amount you're charged for a click, which is known as your actual cost-per-click (actual CPC), so you pay only one cent more than the minimum amount required to keep your ad's position. Therefore, the displayed amount may be lower than the overall cost forecast range for all keywords, or the CPC bid already in place for your ad group.
  • Conversions (“Est. total conv.”): An estimate of the total number of conversions you might get for these keywords. We use your historical estimated total conversion rate as a default, but you can edit this.
  • Average cost-per-acquisition (“Est. avg. CPA”): The predicted cost divided by the number of conversions you might get.
  • Total conversion value (“Total conv. value”): The total value of all the conversions expected for these keyword. We use your historical average conversion value as your default, but you can edit it.
  • Return on ad spend (“ROAS”): The total conversion value you could get, divided by the predicted cost of your ads.

Note

Keep in mind that historical stats like average monthly searches are only shown for exact match. For example, let's say your keyword is dark chocolate. If you want to check that keyword's average monthly searches, we'll show you the same exact match stats whether you use a broad, phrase, or exact match type with dark chocolate. Traffic forecasts like clicks and cost, on the other hand, do take into account keyword match types. For example, if you get forecasts for a list of broad match keywords, we'll take into account any overlap between those keywords.

Breaking down your results by device and location

Once you get your search volume or traffic forecasts, you can further analyze these statistics and see mobile trends or a breakdown by device and location.

Mobile search volume trends

As mobile device usage continues to grow, you might find it helpful to see how your keywords’ performance on mobile devices has evolved over time.

To see mobile trends for your keywords, select “Mobile trends” from the the “Search volume trends” drop-down menu above the graph. You'll see a graph showing mobile searches compared to searches on all devices.

Breakdown by device

You can break down your average monthly searches and traffic forecasts by device type, such as computers, mobile devices with full browsers, and tablets with full browsers.

Breaking down search volume trends

After you get your search volume statistics, select “Breakdown by device" from the “Search volume trends” drop-down menu above the graph. You'll see a graph that breaks down your average monthly searches by computers, mobile devices with full browsers, and tablets with full browsers.

Breaking down traffic forecasts

After you get traffic forecasts for your keywords, you'll see a graph showing clicks, impressions, and cost. To get detailed forecasts, make sure to enter a bid in the text box. You can then see these forecasts broken down by device type by clicking on the Device tab. At the bottom you'll see the breakdown by desktop, mobile, and tablet.

You can use the bid adjustment column to increase or decrease your mobile bid by a percentage. In the columns next to this, you’ll see how adjusting your mobile bid affects your forecasts, like clicks, impressions, cost, clickthrough rate, average cost-per-click, and average position.

Breakdown by location

You can see your search volume and traffic forecasts broken down by locations you’ve targeted. These statistics can help you adjust your location targeting settings to target areas where people are searching for your products or services.

Breaking down search volume trends

To see your search volume statistics broken down by your targeted locations, select “Breakdown by location” from the “Search volume trends” drop-down menu. You’ll see a graph showing how many clicks your keywords get in each of your targeted locations.

Breaking down traffic forecasts

You can see your forecasts broken down by your targeted locations in a few ways. Click on the Location tab and by default you’ll see a table breaking your forecasts down by your targeted locations.

You can also select a more specific geographic segment of your targeted locations, such as region, state, county, or city from the "Location" drop-down menu. Keep in mind that you can only select geographic segments that exist in all your targeted locations (the rest will be grayed out).

Comparing your ad impression share to competitor domains and market leader domains

To get a sense of your ad impression share compared to competitor domains and market leader domains, use the “Search volume trends” drop-down menu and select “Compared to competitor domains” or “Compared to market leader domains.”

Compared to competitor domains

This report can help you identify missed opportunity with existing products so you can focus on keyword categories where your ad impression share is low compared to advertisers like you. 

The competitor domains graph compares your ad impression share to that of competitor domains in the various product categories that your keyword ideas belong to. Competitor domains are determined based on the ad auctions that you’re currently participating in.

Keep in mind that your ad impression share only includes the keyword ideas belonging to your selected product category. Also, by default your ad impression share doesn’t include keyword ideas already in your account, so it may be lower than expected.

Compared to market leader domains

This report can help you see where market leaders have strong impression share to understand important keyword areas in the space when planning keywords for new products.

The market leader domains graph compares your ad impression share to the average ad impression share of the top five market leader domains for your keyword ideas.

Note

The competitor domains and market leader domains reports will not reveal the actual keywords, quality, bids, or settings from your campaigns to other advertisers, nor will they show that information for your competitor domains and market leader domains.

How to understand your traffic forecasts

You might be curious as to why you're seeing certain traffic forecasts. Here's more about the statistics you're seeing.

Forecasts are limited by your budget

Sometimes, the maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids that are in the graph will be shaded. This means that our system predicts that your budget can't accommodate all of the clicks and impressions available for your keywords for those shaded max CPC bids.

In addition to seeing a shaded section in the graph, you might also see that the line in the graph curves downward. This means that the predicted number of clicks your keywords might get are decreasing as your max CPC bid increases.

To get more clicks and impressions, we recommend doing the following:

  • Increase your daily budget. By increasing your budget, your ads might get more clicks and impressions.
  • Lower your max CPC bid. Lowering your bid might reduce the average amount you pay when someone clicks your ads, with the potential for your budget to go further and get more clicks.

Example

Let's say you got forecasts for keywords ideas that you'd like to use in your campaign advertising your Cabo luxury resort. On the forecasts page, you entered a daily budget of US$500 and saw that a range of max CPC bids are shaded on the graph.

Now, let's say you'd like to choose one of those shaded bids. If you set a bid of US$1, then your keywords might get about 500 clicks. If you raise your bid to US$2, now your keywords might only get about 250 clicks. That's because your daily budget of US$500 is limiting the number of clicks your keywords might get as you increase your bid.

Table isn't showing forecasts

Enter bid amount

If you see dashes "-" in all of the columns in the table, it's probably because you need to enter a cost-per-click (CPC) bid to get detailed traffic forecasts. To get forecasts in the table, simply enter a bid amount in the bid field above the graph or select a bid from the graph.

Average position forecasts

If you see a dash "-" instead of a number in the average position ("Avg. Pos.") column, we've determined that your ad will likely not get impressions on Google search and other search sites. We use samples of the historical ad performance for your ads and other ads that use similar keywords to calculate the average position. In general, you'll see a "-" when the combination of various factors like your cost-per-click (CPC) bid and clickthrough rate (CTR) aren't sufficient to earn an ad position. Try increasing your CPC bid to get an average position forecast.

Forecasts are low

When you use Keyword Planner, you'll see approximations of ad position, and number of clicks and impressions you might receive each day. By increasing your cost-per-click (CPC) bid, you can often improve your results. However, you might find that increasing your CPC bid has little effect on your traffic forecasts. This might occur for the following reasons:

  • Historical ad performance: In its calculations, Keyword Planner includes samples of historical ad performance for your ads and other ads using similar keywords. If the overall clickthrough rate (CTR) for this sampling is consistently low, you'll see lower click predictions reflected in your forecasts.Try improving your CTR, which might increase your forecasts in the future.
  • Search analysis: To provide accurate traffic forecasts, we monitor keyword and search patterns. Any low forecasts you get might be due to a lack of searches for your specific keyword or keyword phrase. In this situation, try different keywords or keyword combinations. To do so, click the Search for keywords button.
  • Google Network policies: Sites that partner with Google to show ads (search partners) have different policies for what types of ads can appear on their pages or products. For example, some search partners only accept family-safe ads. Keyword Planner accounts for these policy variations among search partners, and displays forecasts accordingly. While advertising on the Search Network can increase your exposure to potential customers, the traffic forecasts you see may not always reflect this.
Traffic your ad gets is different than Keyword Planner's forecasts

Keyword Planner uses information from the dynamic ads system to project possible results on Google and its search partners. Here are some reasons why your traffic forecasts may be different than your actual results:

  • You recently created an AdWords account: If you're a new advertiser, your forecasts are based on historical average data for all advertisers because we don't know anything about your particular business yet. We provide a rough average for your guidance until we know more about how your ads are performing.
  • Your ads run on the Display Network: Your forecasts are for the Search Network, and don't include forecasts for the number of clicks your ads might receive on the Display Network, including placements that you choose. You can expect more traffic than what's predicted if your ads run on the Display Network as well.
  • You are targeting a small geographic region: You can expect results to be less accurate if you're targeting a small geographic location, simply because we have less data on which to base predictions.
  • You have the same, or very similar, keywords in different campaigns: Regardless of how many ads you have running on a single keyword, we'll show only one on each search results page. This means if you have similar or identical keywords in different ad groups or campaigns, your keywords are competing against each other. While Keyword Planner tries to account for competition among similar and identical keywords that appear across ad groups in the same campaign, its forecasts for these keywords might be less accurate. Keyword Planner doesn't look at keywords across campaigns, so cross-campaign competition won't be accounted for in your forecasts.
  • Your plan or keyword list contains similar keywords that you're getting traffic forecasts for: If you estimate clicks for two or more similar keywords, Keyword Planner tries to predict how traffic will be divided between the overlapping terms. As a result, your forecasts will be less accurate.
  • A full week of data is averaged to provide a daily forecast: Forecasts are based on one week of data, and are averaged to provide daily forecasts. Day-to-day traffic will vary, so consider an entire week's average rather than a single day's forecast.

Low average position

If you raise the maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bid for your keywords, you can generally expect your ad to show closer to the top of the search results page. However, here are some cases when increasing your max CPC bid may lower your average position:

  • Your original bid was very low: If your bid is very low, people may only see your ad once other advertisers have spent all their daily budget. In this case, your ad may achieve a relatively high position, but it will only show a small number of times -- which means it may get few impressions. If you raise your bid, your ad may show alongside other advertisers before they've spent all their budget. In this case, you might gain additional impressions, but your ad might show at a lower position than it would once other advertisers' ads stopped showing. These additional impressions might lower your ad's overall average position.
  • Your bid is high enough for your ad to show in the top position: If you raise your bid and nothing changes, Keyword Planner is predicting that your bid is high enough for your ad to show in the top position. If you'd like your ad to receive more clicks, you can try increasing your daily budget.

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