About search terms insights

Search terms insights help you understand how your customers are searching and engaging with your business on Google. They analyze the search terms where your ads have appeared in the selected time period, grouping them into search categories and subcategories to provide you with key performance metrics for each. Search terms insights are now available in the Google Ads API. You can check the announcement for more information.

This article explains how search terms insights work, where to find them, and how to use them effectively.

Note: Search terms insights are currently available for the following campaign types:
  • Search campaigns
  • Performance Max campaigns
  • Shopping campaigns

On this page


  • Understand what your target customers are searching for using intent based search categories without having to sift through individual search terms in the search terms report.
  • Take action on recommendations that help tailor your creatives, landing pages, and Merchant Center feed descriptions to incorporate top search categories surfaced or trending, helping to boost performance.
  • Identify which campaigns and ad groups are capturing the most demand, based on the search categories and apply relevant recommendations on how to capture more.

Find search terms insights

Search terms insights can be accessed at either the account level or the individual campaign level.

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Insights and reports drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Insights.
  4. Scroll down to the ”Consumer spotlight” section to find Search Terms Insights card.

An animated GIF demonstrating the relevant sections on the Insights page regarding consumer interest.

How it works

1. Check which search categories are driving performance

A screenshot of the user interface of the unexpanded consumer insight table.

Search categories are auto-generated groupings of the search terms driving traffic to your campaigns. These groupings take all search terms into account, including those not exposed in the search terms report due to privacy reasons. They’re automatically categorized based on customer intent and product and service attributes.

Note: Search terms that have lower spend or don’t have an identifiable search category will be grouped together as ”other search terms”.

For each of the search categories identified, you can note which campaigns and ad groups received traffic, along with the following aggregated metrics:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Conversions
  • Conversion rate
  • Conversion value
  • Search volume (across all targeted countries)
  • View detailed report of search categories indicating performance at subcategory level and the entities (campaigns, ad groups and asset groups) where this search category appeared in customer searches

View and download your search term insights for a custom time range

You can view search terms insights for any custom time range after March 2023. Select from the 3 date options in the card header to select a time range.

Follow the steps below to download your search term insights for a custom time range:

  1. Go to Insights.
  2. Scroll down to the “Consumer spotlight” section and select a custom time range.
  3. Click on the download button Download and select a file type.
  4. The downloaded file is structured similar to the view on the Insights page. You will find a row for each search category with aggregated metrics followed by multiple rows of data on search sub-categories within the category.

Search terms insights will now include all categories and subcategories, not just the top 1000 categories. You’ll now have access to more data to help you track the performance of your campaigns.

2. Dive deeper into search subcategories

You can learn more about a particular search category by expanding a given search category to view its subcategories and more.

Note: Search terms that don’t have an identifiable search category are grouped together as ”Uncategorized search terms”.

A screenshot of the user interface of the expanded consumer insight table.

Go over the search term details to view the full list of subcategories, associated performance metrics, and search terms. You can also get campaigns, ad groups, or asset groups where the theme has appeared.

Search terms with lower conversions or clicks, or weren’t searched by a significant number of people are grouped together as ”other search terms”.

A screenshot demonstrating the slidealong window within the Insights page.

3. Update your campaign and creative strategy based on learnings

After you’ve identified which key search categories are driving the most demand towards your account or campaign, you can leverage these insights to help shape your creative and optimization strategy.

  • Use any recommendations you may identify alongside search terms insights to easily capture more untapped demand.
  • Consider shifting your creative or targeting strategy to align more closely with the top search categories.
  • Consider increasing your budget alongside your targeting changes to give your campaign enough headroom to capture this new set of users.

Frequently asked questions

How do we define categories found in Search terms insights?

Categories are intent-based grouping of search terms where an advertiser's ads showed. Labels for these categories are system-generated and are the most intuitive representation of the theme of the individual terms within the category.
To view what terms make up each category, you can open a category by clicking the arrow next to it.
A screenshot of the user interface of the expanded consumer insight table highlighted in yellow.

Why do I find negative keywords as search categories or search terms within categories?

The label of the search category in Search terms insights isn’t necessarily one of the search terms, but is the best representation of the group of terms as a whole. You can check the search terms to find if they were excluded to confirm whether it is an issue with the label or the serving search terms.
Negative match types work differently than their positive counterparts. The main difference is that you'll need to add synonyms, singular or plural versions, misspellings, and other close variations if you want to exclude them.


You may find the category “Google” even if you exclude the term “Google”, because users may search for “gogle” or “cardboard vr viewer” that relate to the brand, even if these terms aren’t excluded by the negative keywords.
If you find negatively targeted terms in the search terms insights, it may be because your ads appeared for misspellings that aren't included in your negative keywords list. In these instances, the search terms insights show 'corrected' variations of the misspelled search terms. Learn more About negative keywords.

Why am I seeing brand terms in my Search terms insights category labels?

The label of the category in Search terms insights isn’t necessarily one of the search terms, but is the best representation of the group of terms as a whole. If a brand name is the best representation of the grouping of terms, then it will be used as a category label. We respect all of your controls which have been included in the campaign.
To view the exact terms your ads showed against, you can open the individual category labels to view the terms.

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