Use the search terms report to know how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches within the search network. This article describes the search terms report and how to use it.
For instructions on how to view and understand the search terms report, refer to View your search terms report.
Differences between the search terms report and search terms insights
Search terms insights analyse the search terms where your ads have appeared in the past 56 days, grouping them into themes and subthemes to provide you with key performance metrics for each. We recommend using this feature where available to easily understand what your customers are interested in and to capture more untapped demand.
That said, you may notice some differences between the data shown on search terms insights compared to the search terms report.
- Conversions: How conversions are processed differs between search terms insights and the search terms report. You may notice slight differences between the 2 surfaces due to conversion lag.
- Search subthemes and queries: Some search terms that don’t have enough query activity are omitted from the search terms report to comply with our standards on data privacy. Search terms insights account for these low-volume queries by grouping them into their relevant subthemes where applicable or aggregating them as 'other queries' without exposing the queries themselves.
The search terms report provides insight into the searches that trigger your ads and how those searches are performing. This report also helps you discover new ideas for creative and landing page content to align with what your customers are looking for.
What's the difference between a search term and a keyword? A search term is a word or set of words that a person enters when searching on Google or on one of our search network sites. A keyword is a word or set of words that Google Ads advertisers can add to a given ad group so your ads are targeting the right audience.
David is looking to buy a Valentine’s Day bouquet online. He types 'red roses' into the search box on Google. 'Red roses' is the search term. Let's say that you're the owner of an online flower business and manage a Google Ads account. Since you've included the word 'roses' as a keyword in your Google Ads campaign, your ad may be eligible to show on David’s search results page.
To view your search terms report, follow these steps:
- Sign into your Google Ads account.
- Click All Campaigns in the navigation pane on the left, then click Keywords in the page menu.
- Click Search terms from the list under the 'Keywords' menu.
On the report, you'll find data on the search terms that have been used by a significant number of customers and have triggered impressions and clicks.
You can also use the following features:
|Columns button||Alter your search terms report and modify which columns show. Allows you to add, remove or reorder the columns in your report. You can choose to save your column set and apply these changes.|
|Download button||Download the data in your report. Choose the format to download the data from the list that appears when you click on it.|
|Segment button||Segregate the table into time, conversions, device (the ad was shown in) or Networks.|
|Expand the table of your search terms report. Go back to the previous view by clicking on the collapse button .|
Understanding your search terms data
Understanding the 'Keyword' column
The 'Keyword' column tells you which one of your keywords matched someone’s search term and triggered your ad. This information can help you to check your keywords “in action” by showing you how they’re matching to actual searches.
You can use the data in the 'Keyword' column to improve your keyword list. For example, let’s say that you sell tulips. When you look at your search terms report, you’ll notice that your broad-match keyword flowers triggers your ad to show when customers search for red roses and purple orchids – flowers that you don’t sell. So, you decide to refine your keyword list to focus on terms and phrases more specific to the products that you do offer: tulips.
The "Keyword" column doesn't show by default. In the new Google Ads experience, to turn on the 'Keyword' column, click the column icon and then click 'Attributes'. Tick the box beside 'Keyword', then click 'Apply'.
Understanding the 'Match type' column
Modify your report
You can modify your report to view the list of search terms that triggered your ad for your entire account or specific campaigns or ad groups. In the previous AdWords experience, this feature could be accessed by clicking the "Dimensions" tab, then clicking "View" and selecting "Search terms" from the drop-down menu. In the new Google Ads experience, this feature is accessed by clicking the reporting icon , then selecting "Predefined reports" from the drop-down menu.
Note that while the same information for individual keywords is available when viewing the search terms report this way, you can’t add keywords or negative keywords directly from the report.
Search terms on search partners
In addition to search results pages, your ads on our search partners may also appear on site directory pages or other pages related to a person's search. The search terms in these instances may appear longer than normal or may be formatted differently, depending on the structure of a particular site or page.
The search terms report is a list of search terms that a significant number of people have used, and that resulted in your ad being shown. Depending on your keyword matching options, the search terms listed might be different from your keyword list.
The 'Match type' column tells you how closely the search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to the actual keywords in your account. By checking which match types are working well for which keywords and searches, you can refine match types for all your keywords, so that only the right searches cause your ad to show. The 'Keyword' column tells you which of your keywords matched someone’s search term and triggered your ad. This column doesn't show by default. To learn how to modify columns, refer to View your search terms report.
To help you understand how the search term match type is determined, we'll use the following example:
|Ad group A||Exact match keyword [purple flowers]|
|Ad group B||Phrase match keyword "purple flowers"|
|Ad group C||Broad-match keyword purple flowers|
Bearing these ad groups and keywords in mind, we'll use the table below to show you how different search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to your keywords. Note that when the search term match type is a close variation, it will be indicated in the 'Match type' column. Close variants can include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stem words (such as 'floor' and 'flooring'), abbreviations, accents and variants of your keyword terms that have the same meaning.
Bear in mind that a search term match type listed in your report might not be the same as the match type you've selected for the keyword that triggered the ads. This is because keywords with broader match types can still match search terms in narrower ways. For example, if someone searched for purple flowers and your broad match keyword purple flowers triggered your ad, the search terms match type would be an exact match, even though in your ad group, purple flowers is a broad match keyword.
|Your keyword||Customer's search term||Search term match type||Reason for search term match type|
|[purple flowers]||purple flowers||Exact match||The search term exactly matches your exact match keyword from ad group A.|
|[purple flowers]||purple flowrs||Exact match (close variant)||The search term is a close variant (same meaning and intent) of your exact match keyword from ad group A.|
|"purple flowers"||purple flowers||Exact match||The search term exactly matches your phrase match keyword from ad group B.|
|"purple flowers"||free purple flowers||Phrase match||The search term contains your phrase match keyword from ad group B.|
|"purple flowers"||free purple flowrs||Phrase match (close variant)||The search term is a close variant (same meaning and intent) of your phrase match keyword from ad group B.|
|purple flowers||purple flowers||Exact match||The search term exactly matches your broad match keyword from ad group C.|
|purple flowers||free purple flowers||Phrase match||The search term contains your broad match keyword from ad group C.|
|purple flowers||pink flowers||Broad-match||The search term is a variation of your broad match keyword from ad group C.|
Manage your keywords based on search terms data
Use your search terms data to make changes to your keywords that can have a positive impact on your performance. Here are some ideas:
- If a search term isn't relevant enough to the products or services that you offer, add it as a negative keyword. By adding irrelevant search terms as negative keywords, you can prevent your ad from showing to people who are looking for something you don’t sell. For example, if you sell eyeglasses and you noticed that the search term “wine glasses” is triggering your ads, you might want to add “wine” as a negative keyword.
- Edit your match type (namely, broad, phrase, exact or negative) for existing keywords. The 'Match type' column can help you understand how keyword match type is affecting your ad performance.
- We recommend using Smart Bidding, which incorporates a wide range of contextual signals to set bids for each individual auction and help maximise your performance.