Be Prepared For Changes In Google Tools

So the other shoe has finally dropped. Google recently announced that paid search has been made secure. Since marketers have also dealt with the move to secure organic search, this news might strike fear in their heart. And rightfully so; the disruption to SEO was a significant one. But let’s all take a deep breath. The impacts on paid secure search are not nearly as significant. The primary reason is that while the query data is being removed from the referral URL, it is still available in AdWords. There are some results of this change, the most important of which are:

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!

Tags: google, search
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1 comment about "Be Prepared For Changes In Google Tools".
  1. Domenico Tassone from Viewthrough Measurement Consortium , May 16, 2014 at 8:17 p.m.
    Piwik is a great OpenSource tool for digital marketers that do not want to share their behavioral data with Google and that are looking for a very low cost option. More info here: http://tipofthespear.seicheanalytics.com/2014/03/piwik-presentation.html