WTF Is Happening To The AdWords Keyword Tool?

So this happened – this was posted on the official AdWords Community site Friday (post can be found here):

AdWords Keyword Planner Tool Announcement


Let’s take this one glorious piece at a time… (and sorry to CassieH – this is not directed to you specifically, but rather the position/announcement itself).

As of this week, previous technical issues affecting the Keyword Planner tool are now resolved.

Translation – when this was briefly live a few weeks ago it was a glitch. A glitch in timing, not functionality. Apparently, this is how it is going to be.

Most advertisers will see search volume data in Keyword Planner as usual.

Oh, good. I was worried about not having access to data actually from the platform I wanted to spend advertising money in to make decisions about ideas and campaigns that were not yet live. Whew!

Advertisers with lower monthly spend may see a limited data view in the Keyword Planner. For example, you may see values such as 0, 1-100, 100-1K, 1K-10K, 10K-100K, 100K-1M, 1M+ in the average monthly searches column. In addition, other advertisers may trigger the limited data view by reaching a limit on the number of searches for search volume data (specifically, requests to our API).

Did we say access as usual? Well… for some of you. What qualifies as “lower monthly spend” I wonder? Why on earth would AdWords not want to give advertisers or potential advertisers access to actual data they could use to make decisions about campaign ideas? This seems positively insane to me.

Second part – about limiting data if too many searches via API, is this squarely directed at third party tools? Does Google want to make sure that no one can have more detailed data available to them, except for active advertisers of a certain (large) size?

And finally:

These changes will ensure that AdWords advertisers are able to get the data they need to optimize their accounts.

Um, how, exactly, does this ensure that advertisers get the data they need to optimize their accounts? Seems like is should say “These changes will ensure that some AdWords advertisers are able to get full access to the detailed data they need. Others, who don’t spend enough or who are just investigating potentially spending money on our platform, will either have no access or access to data in such wide ranges as to be, in practical terms, useless.” There, fixed it.

It seems absolutely fundamental to me that a tool in which one is expected to spend money to advertise on specific terms, should provide access to this type of information. Trust me virtually every advertiser, at some point, has asked the question of their AdWords person “How much is it going to cost for us to do this?” or “What should we expect to spend?” or “What should we target?”. To answer these questions with any degree of usefulness, we need access to this data in more than just gigantic ranges. Anyone who has been doing this for a while knows to take these numbers with a large grain of salt, but at least it was something. This new system is not something, it is, for all intents and purposes, nothing. And that is not okay.

Let’s hope AdWords reverses course on this. I will post any updates to this story as they become available. For now, I will just be sitting here shaking my head.

What do you think? As always, sound off in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@NeptuneMoon).


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