Search Terms Reports: What Are They & Why Do They Matter?

By Jordan Crawford | Mar 2, 2016
More Articles by Jordan


search terms reportWant a task that only takes 30 minutes out of your day and could have huge cost-saving implications for your PPC campaign? Running regular search term reports is the task for you. Analyzing search terms reports on a regular basis helps ensure that you are not wasting advertising dollars on irrelevant search queries and can also reveal new keyword opportunities to add to your campaigns.

Before jumping into the benefits of running search terms reports, let’s be sure we have the basics down on what they are and where to find them in your PPC accounts.

What is a search terms report?

A search terms report, also known as a search query report, shows advertisers the actual searches that people entered into the search engine (whether Google.com, Bing.com, or a Search Partner site) and the performance of the ads when they were triggered by those terms.

To be clear, keywords are different than search terms. Keywords are the words or phrases that advertisers bid on in their accounts in one of the following three main match types:

  • Exact match: Ads may show on searches that exactly match the term or close variations of that exact term
  • Phrase match: Ads may show on searches that include that phrase, even if they include one or more words before or after it or are a close variant of that phrase
  • Broad match: Ads may show on searches that contain that term and include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations

Search terms, then, are the actual searches that trigger an ad because they match one of the above conditions. For example, if an advertiser is bidding on the phrase match keyword “camera bags,” then possible search terms that could trigger the ad are “blue camera bags” and “camera bags under $20.” These terms, combined with the ads’ performance off of these queries, would all show up in a search terms report.

How do I pull an AdWords search terms report?

To run a search terms report in AdWords, complete the following steps:

  1. Sign-in to your AdWords account and choose a desired date range
  2. Click on the campaign you are interested in viewing search terms for
  3. Click the “Keywords” tab
  4. Notice the three sub-tabs displayed directly below the main tabs that say “Keywords,” “Negative keywords,” and “Search terms”
  5. Click “Search terms”
  6. Download the report by clicking the downward arrow icon

adwords search terms report
Pro tip: If you are looking for a specific set of data, you can easily customize the search terms report by using the “Segment,” “Filter,” or “Columns” options.

How do I pull a Bing Ads search terms report?

Viewing and downloading search terms in Bing Ads is very similar to the process in AdWords, but there a few differences in how you to navigate to them. Below are the steps for pulling a search terms report in Bing Ads:

  1. Sign-in to your Bing Ads account and choose a desired date range
  2. Click on the campaign you are interested in viewing search terms for
  3. Click the “Keywords” tab
  4. Click the “Details” drop-down menu
  5. Click “All” under the “Search terms” option
  6. Download the report by clicking the “Export” button

bing search terms report
Pro tip: If you want to pull the search terms for more than one account at a time, you can do so using the “Search terms” standard report option under Bing Ads’ “Reports” tab.

What should I look for in search terms reports?

Running regular search terms reports is a great way to optimize your PPC campaigns because they can help ensure that your ads are showing in front of the right people. Analyzing the search terms that are triggering your ads gives you insight into how people are looking for your goods or services and/or what searches are matching off of your keywords that have the wrong search intent.

The two primary opportunities that you should look for when running search term reports are:

  • Finding search terms that are performing well and could be added as new keywords to your account
  • Finding new negative keywords to add to your campaign

These can be especially helpful with recently launched campaigns. To parse this out, let’s go back to the initial example of “camera bags” and what you might consider when looking at the three search terms that came in.

  • Search term 1: “blue camera bags”Photography equipment
    • Question to ask yourself: Does our company sell blue camera bags?
      • If not, add “blue” as a negative keyword
      • If yes, look at the click-through rate and conversion rate of “blue camera bags” to determine if it should be added as a keyword to your campaign
  • Search term 2: “camera bags under $20”
    • Question to ask yourself: Does our company sell camera bags under $20?
      • If not, add “under $20” as a negative keyword
      • If yes, look at the click-through rate and conversion rate of “camera bags under $20” to determine if it should be added as a keyword to your campaign

What are the benefits of search term reports, again?

Adding negative keywords helps save you from wasting impressions, clicks, and dollars on people who are unlikely to buy your product or service. It can also save you from accidentally associating your brand with negative or completely irrelevant queries. For example, I ran across “marijuana for sale” in a search term report I ran the other day for a client that sells pharmaceutical resources — definitely one I immediately negated out!

You may be asking yourself: “Why would I add a new keyword to my account based on a search term report if my ads are already showing for it?” While there are many benefits of doing so, one major benefit is that it could give you not only ideas for new keywords, but also new ad groups and even campaigns. For example, say the camera bag advertiser above added “blue camera bags” to their account and it became a top performer, and now the advertiser wants to ensure its performance is maximized. That advertiser could break “blue camera bags” related keywords into a specific ad group with ad copy relevant to blue bags and a dedicated landing page.

Do you love search terms reports as much as me? Do you have any questions? Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me: @jcrawford326!

Share this article

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon LinkedIn Icon Google Plus Icon Pinterest Icon

Subscribe today!

Join over 4,000 marketers who receive actionable digital marketing insights.

 

Blog Search