Google took a step to obscure readily available targeting data for paid-search advertisements. This time the disappearing data belongs to the specific geographic location or suburbs surrounding a major metro area that marketers say they use to verify accuracy.
Despite knowing the city location or the ZIP code location, Google changed its reporting structure to eliminate the data in the Metro DMA column, leaving up to 55% of records for the report with a blank data field, according to Tim Daly, Vincodo, CEO.
Advertisers that target and assign bid modifiers for the Metro DMA, the suburbs of a specific geographic market area, no longer have access to aggregated reporting data to assess the performance associated with those bid modifiers, Daly says. "This is the MSAs and the DMAs that Nielsen built their whole business on," he says.
The Geographic Location report provides the name of the country, region and city, but no longer breaks down the reporting by the surrounding metro area, which Daly says eliminates another important piece of information marketers use to target specific regions. Targeting specific markets mean tagging Los Angeles -- not just the city, but also the suburbs surrounding Los Angeles such as Glendale, Long Beach, and Torrance. In the past the report broke down the data by specific areas. In this case, eliminating the field makes it more difficult to understand how the whole metro area of the Los Angeles market performs.
"I'm blown away," he says. "It removes a level of confidence that we're targeting correctly."
Daly says he spoke with a Google rep who told him there was a change in the process and the type of information provided to marketers. That change in process required Daly's IT team to build a tool in house that generates the data. "It was critical enough for us to allocate high prioritization with our IT staff to build this data appending tool with expediency," he says.
A Google spokesperson is looking into the issue. Search Marketing Daily will update the report with future findings.