AdWords has long billed itself as a self-serve platform that anyone could use to quickly reach millions of people. They’ve backed off some of that messaging recently and it appears they continue to move that direction. The following post from CassieH of Google explains recent changes made to the Keyword Planner Tool:
Hi AdWords Community,
As of this week, previous technical issues affecting the Keyword Planner tool are now resolved. Some important updates to keep in mind:
- Most advertisers will see search volume data in Keyword Planner as usual.
- 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).
- Access to traffic forecast data will remain unchanged.
These changes will ensure that AdWords advertisers are able to get the data they need to optimize their accounts.
The comments that follow range from outrage to despair, but mainly people just want to know what the threshold is to see complete data. I’m not sure why Google won’t make that clear, but for now it’s vague. Which brings me to my point: You may need to go through an agency to get accurate estimates if you’re not currently advertising or you’re a small advertiser.
Why Use An Agency
Agencies have two main advantages in this fight. First, they have access to several accounts which are likely exceeding the spend threshold. Therefore they can pop into a large account, do a little research and use that data for their forecasts and estimates. The new advertiser or small-budget advertiser can’t do that.
Secondly, Google Partner agencies have dedicated Google reps that can pull this data. Nothing gets a Google rep more excited and motivated than telling them you’ve got a potential new advertiser with a significant budget. At that point they’ll actually be very forthcoming with data to help the agency land the client (thus building the book of business for the Google rep, as well).
A Word of Caution
I can already anticipate the thinking of some advertisers. They’ll request a quote from a large agency and specify they want to see keyword data in the proposal with no intent on using the agency. They then take the data and don’t sign with the agency. Sounds perfect because now someone else does the work for you. But remember that agencies are businesses, too, and time spend putting that proposal together is a cost to the agency. Please don’t be “that guy”.