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 past 56 days, grouping them into search categories and subcategories to provide you with key performance metrics for each.

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
  • Shopping campaigns
  • Performance Max campaigns


  • 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.

Where to find search terms insights

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

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Insights on the page menu on the left.
  3. Scroll down to the ”Search terms insights” section.

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)

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 where the theme has appeared.
    • Note: 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 is a negative keyword showing up as the category label?

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.
For Search campaigns, you can use broad match, phrase match, or exact match negative keywords. However, these 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.
Example: You may see 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.
For Display campaigns, a set of negative keywords will be excluded as an exact topic. Ads won’t show on a page even if the exact keywords or phrases aren't on the page explicitly, but the topic of the content is strongly related to the excluded set of negative keywords.
Based on your selection of match type, your ads may show on some variations and other combinations of the terms added as negative keywords. 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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