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You can use Keyword Planner to get insights into how keywords might perform. Google draws on historical search data to make estimates on what you might get from a set of keywords based on your spending. These forecasts can help you decide how to group your keywords and set your bids.
This article shows you what you can learn from your forecasts and historical search data, as well as how to fix common troubleshooting issues.
Your forecasted impressions take your bid, budget, seasonality, and historical ad quality into account to estimate future performance. When you use Keyword Planner to get forecasts for your keywords, you'll see an overview of them on the graph and more detailed forecasts in the table, as well as information on what kinds of bids might help you reach your business goals.
The “Forecast” page shows you forecasts for your plan, broken down by top keywords, locations, and devices. The information is displayed in a clear dashboard, and you can change the parameters on each forecast for detailed insights into your plan’s potential success.
At the top of the “Forecast” page, you’ll also be shown a default bid, which you can change by selecting a different point on the graph or by entering a bid in the field at the top of the page. This can help you see how your keywords might perform with higher or lower bids. The default bid is based on:
- Your previous plan (if you had one);
- The average maximum cost-per-click (CPC) from your account's manual CPC ad groups, or;
- The average maximum CPC across all manual bidding ad groups with the same currency.
What your keyword forecasts mean
- Clicks: The number of clicks your ad might receive each day if the keyword were to trigger the ad.
- Cost: The average amount you might spend per day for this keyword.
- Impressions: How often your ad might show in a day. An impression is counted each time an ad is shown on a search results page.
- 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 are called an impression).
- Average cost-per-click ("Avg. CPC"): The average amount you might pay for a click. The final amount you're charged for a click is automatically adjusted, and this 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.
When you use Keyword Planner to get historical metrics for your keywords or campaigns, you'll see detailed statistics in a table that can help you select keywords to use in your campaign. Keep in mind that forecasts take bid, budget, seasonality, and other factors into account, while historical metrics do not.
What your historical metrics mean
- Average monthly searches ("Avg. monthly searches"): The average number of times people have searched for a keyword and its close variants based on the month range as well as the location and Search Network settings you selected. You can use this information to see how popular your keywords are during different times of the year. By default, the number of searches for the term (regardless of language) is averaged 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.
- Top of page bid (low range): The lower range bid—an approximation of the 20th percentile—that advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and Search Network settings.
- Top of page bid (high range): The higher range bid—an approximation of the 80th percentile—that advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and Search Network settings.
- Organic impression share (“Organic impr. share”): The percentage of times a listing from your website showed up in web searches for a keyword. This is calculated by dividing the number of web searches that showed a listing from your website by the total number of searches for that keyword idea.
- 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 from the impression share and exact match impression share columns in campaign management, which are based on the number of impressions you were eligible to receive for a keyword. In Keyword Planner, 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 there isn’t enough data to calculate this number.
Things to keep in mind about your historical metrics
- 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.
- Keyword forecasts can help you determine your estimated performance. Your forecasted impressions take your bid, budget, seasonality, 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.
- Bid range statistics can help you decide which keywords to use for a campaign. Bid range statistics, or “top of page bid (low range)” and “top of page bid (high range),” can also help you choose an effective bid for your keywords. Bid range statistics take into account the bids that resulted in an ad being shown among the ads at the top of the first page of search results.
- Bid range statistics show bid information from the last 30 days. You might not see bid range statistics for keywords that have limited historical bid information. Because showing an ad at the top of the first page of results is based on a combination of bid, quality score, and other factors, you can use these metrics to help adjust your bids in relation to similar keywords’ quality scores.
Fix issues with traffic forecasts
In some cases, the traffic forecasts you see in Keyword Planner may seem lower than expected or different from the traffic your ad is actually getting. Or, you may have trouble seeing traffic forecasts altogether.
Read below to find out why you might not be seeing traffic forecasts in Keyword Planner and what you can do to fix them.
Forecasts are low
- 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, keyword and search patterns are monitored. Any low forecasts you get might be due to a lack of searches for your specific keyword or keyword phrase. In this situation, add more keywords or keyword combinations. To do so, click Keyword ideas in the page menu on the left.
- 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 ads without any sexual content restrictions. 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
- You recently created a Google Ads account: If you're a new advertiser, your forecasts are based on historical average data for all advertisers because there isn't a sufficient amount of data about your particular business yet. You'll see a rough average for your guidance until more data is available 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 there is 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, you'll be shown 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 2 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.