The Google traffic and cost estimator has always been a very powerful source of keyword insight and it is imperative for PPC campaign planning. This is still very much the case but over the last couple of months we have started noticing a few changes to access levels and depth of insight, namely:
- You can no longer access the tool unless you have an AdWords campaign live
- Seeing very broad ranges of ‘available search volumes’ rather than more precise numbers – i.e. 100k-1m, 1m+ in the average monthly searches column.
Whilst we have yet to see an official statement from Google it sounds like access is being restricted to advertisers with lower monthly spends or if a user exceeds a threshold for a certain amount of use. Google have confirmed that they are actively looking to restrict the ease of which 3rd party tech can tap into their data to power their own platforms, which is costly to maintain and slows down the tool.
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Whilst potentially very annoying to those accessing the tool through a personal Gmail address, this won’t in any way impact our access to the data or the level of detail we have access to. What it will do however is potentially affect the accuracy of data contained in 3rd party insight tools.
It is imperative to cross reference any insight from these tools with source data. We also have to remember that if these 3rd party platforms tap directly into Google, they are already fundamentally flawed as a lot of them will completely discount Bing data. The Bing network now captures over 20% of all searches and after a long time in testing, they have recently released their own keyword planner from beta.
We will challenge the insight tools we use to ensure we understand any emerging limitations and as best practice will always use Bing planning tools alongside Google’s to maximise the accuracy of search planning to ensure campaigns are built on the strongest platforms possible to succeed.