Adwords Optimization: WTF GOOGLE…GIVE ME DATA!

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I have a feeling that many of you share this frustration with me. Over the last few years I have been running adwords campaigns for my clients, and most of the time I do a great job delivering results. But, every now and then I run into a situation like this. Worst part, I know there is NOTHING I can do about it.

At first I thought I would share this issue with the SEJ community and seek advice. But after thinking about it (and having a beer or two) I thought I’d turn this into an open message to Google. The key message here is “WTF GOOGLE…GIVE ME DATA!”

Here‘s the Situation

Below you will see the data of my adwords campaign. I blacked out the campaign name to protect my client’s privacy. If you’re like me, your eyes go to the CTR and you think, “Crap! Either the ads are wrong or the keywords are wrong…..let’s make changes.”

One of the monthly tasks that I preform for PPC accounts is identifying negative keywords and adding them to the ad groups or campaigns. A very critical part to Adwords success! So, to execute this optimization technique I drill down to see the queries that are achieving the ads (found in the keyword report), and what do I find? Nothing but Success! Well, almost.

In the image below, check out the CTR’s on the queries that have activated the ads. Out of this world! 33% ctr here, 6% ctr there, 100% on that query, things are looking good.  I don’t think the ads are an issue here.


Pay special attention to the data in the red box (above), .38% ctr, 2,300 impressions, and 9 clicks with a cost of $12.16 per click. This tells us that the negative keyword information that I need is found in that black box! Also, every time an ad is clicked I spend twelve bucks. The worst part is that Google is not giving me the data needed to do my job. What do I tell the client when they ask me if I feel that the campaign is generating the results that I expect to see?  Come on Google, let’s work together on this.  Broad match modifier

How Do I Optimize Without Data?

Below is four of the same keyword phrase with different match types. I see the broad match has a low ctr, phrase and broad match modifier’s have 0 ctr. Exact match has a decent CTR but with low search volume.


Knowing that the query data in the first image shows high CTRs, I don’t want to pause these keywords. But, I need to optimize the campaign using negative keywords. What’s a guy to do? I really, really, really hope Google’s answer to this is “Spend more money and I’ll show you more data…Optimize your campaign over time.”



Gabriel Gervelis
Gabriel Gervelis is the owner of Gervelis Search Marketing. You can find him on Twitter - @seo_pro,
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  • Norm


    I have complained to Google on many occasions about this. They post a video with their Chief Economist explaining how Adwords auction works and how they want it to be a good experience for all parties, and then they don’t give us some of the most directly helpful and useful data that would allow us to do just that!

    It’s ludicrous and your expletive is more then appropriate.

  • William Bakhos

    Its very frustrating and what I do is flesh out the performing search terms (ie the 5.88% example above) and give them their own adgroup as exact match only. Then I would add a negative keywords of [previous keyword] for the old adgroup so that only the new adgroup triggers that search term from now on.

    This will enable you to work out (over a period of time) what words in the original adgroup are bringing good traffic. After a while that initial adgroup won’t perform as well so you may pause it. Thats ok because over time you have created a bunch of new adgroups with performing keyword in them.

    Yes this is a bit annoying and time consuming but it makes the campaign more granular and ‘forces’ Google to start giving you data. When its too broad Google just truncated the info and its hard as you have seen.

    Otherwise Google could just show us.. that would be nice.

    • Gabriel Gervelis

      Thats a great workaround, thanks for sharing!

  • John Weber

    Have you noticed as well that the “search partners” segment performs much worse as a whole? This is not surprising since this includes maps and image searches. I would like there to be a way to segment out search queries by network as well from within AdWords. I like the high-CTR ad group concept and have used a similar strategy for converting terms which doesn’t always have the results you would hope but for cleaning up terms it’s a great idea.