1) Analytics platforms will now require Google tags in order to get search query conversion data.
2) Landing pages that are customized based on query data will need to use the ValueTrack parameter.
Meaning that if you’re an advertiser using a platform that directly accesses the Google AdWords API (and most do), you’ll continue to get keyword data. If you don’t, you can manually use the adURL parameter to directly pass keywords via your destination URL.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are free tools — tools that Google built and continue to improve to the betterment of marketers everywhere. Where else can you get a deal like that? The real question to ask yourself is, do you have a back-up plan or process in place to handle changes to this very important source of data? After three such changes in the past eight months, I think that it’s time for us to plan for the next big change. How do we do that? To start, here is a list of questions to ask internally:
1) How much of my mission-critical data comes from Google Analytics today?
2) If Google Analytics went away tomorrow, how would I fill the gaps created by this?
3) Who in my organization is responsible for managing the process of getting back the lost data?
4) Does our organization/agency have the ability to work directly with the AdWords or Webmaster Tools APIs?
I commend Google Analytics for continuing to be an increasingly sophisticated, low-cost source of high-quality data, analytics and insight. If that were to ever change, we could only blame ourselves for not being prepared!