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  1. #1
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Google AdWords - way to find out full terms searched on?
    Is there some way to figure out what full search phrases people are searching on that click on my PPC ads for Google AdWords, MSN and Yahoo, when it comes to my phrase ("red widgets") and broad (red widgets) match terms? Obviously for exact match ([red widgets]), we know exactly what the visitor typed into the search engine, but for the other two match cases we just have to guess since Google doesn't list the actual full clicked-on searches in a report somewhere. Or do they?

    The reason this is important is that every once in a while I'll have a two- or three-term broad or phrase match term that suddenly gets a ton of clicks, and I have no clue if they are completely irrelevant to my ads or not. For example, the broad match:

    red widgets

    ...could show my ad to these searches: "building red widgets from clay", "eating red widgets", "where to buy red widgets", "painting red dots onto fussy widgets", etc. Obviously if I'm trying to just sell plain old red widgets, I don't want to get the clicks from "building red widgets from clay" because they probably won't buy my pre-made widgets. Of course I realize using negatives is important, and I do, but I have to just guess what these negatives are. Keyword research helps too, I know.

    Still, if Google would let us actually see what visitor searches are matching with our PPC phrases clicked on, it would be a huge help in determining what to use for negatives and how to better price our broads and phrases.

    Short of something extremely complex like building out a SQL database and adding a string to every single AdWords search phrase's destination URL to pass on to my site for analysis, is there an easier way?

  2. #2
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Here's something I ran across once. Never tried it. Tell us if it works.

    http://www.apogee-web-consulting.com/web_analytics.html

    Says it does just what you are looking for, and it's free.

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Short of something extremely complex like building out a SQL database and adding a string to every single AdWords search phrase's destination URL to pass on to my site for analysis, is there an easier way?
    For any new PPC campaign (Any PPC engine, not just AdWords), I just start watching my log files--with special emphasis on the specifics of pages whose campaigns are drawing an unexpectedly high amount of clicks.

    Soon after starting a new campaign, there are usually a bunch of irrelevant terms that begin to show up in the referrer lines. Then I get out my negative-match machete...

    And before someone asks: Yeah, that's the raw log files that I'm talking about. I've yet to see an affordable log analyzer that can come close to what I can see just by looking directly at them.

    If I want to see just the hits to a particular page, it's easy to use WordPad's "find" tool to skip through that page's entries. I would suggest using the "daily" log files for this kind of thing, though...monthly logs are usually too huge for effective manual perusal.
    Last edited by Leader; May 31st, 2007 at 06:07 AM.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Each of the PPC Engines allows auto tagging of urls to include parameters such as the search phrase. They will then be appended to your referral url from each source - so they show up in your site's logs and can be mined from their. ShareASale has a feature to trap all of your referral urls for a 24 hour period, another way to mine them.

    In Google AdWords:
    help: http://adwords.google.com/support/bi...y?answer=14186
    tab: My Account | Account Preferences | Tracking | Auto-Tagging

    In Yahoo:
    help: http://help.yahoo.com/help/l/us/yaho...cking_url.html
    tab: Administration | Tracking URLs

    In MSN AdCenter:
    help: http://www.ppcsearchenginemarketing....-query-string/
    tab: (build them into your ad's destination url)
    [typical microsoft, help files suck and are impossible to link to, so help i linked to is external, but more than good enough.]

    Have fun!

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Google Analytics also works very well in conjunction with Adwords, and will show the kinds of things you are looking for.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  6. #6
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Great information. Thanks guys!!

  7. #7
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    This leads to another question
    Ok. Looks like auto-tagging my URLs, actively looking through the server logs, and using Google Analytics (though I hesitate because now Google will have pretty much all info they need about how well my keywords are doing, as has been pointed out by ABWers), will give me a better picture of what my visitors are doing and where they came from.

    However, something that I've never understood is how I, as an affiliate, can really know which keywords actually convert into sales when the traffic comes from my own sites. With those ShareASale merchants I use DTM (direct-to-merchant) PPC traffic with, it's very nice because SAS shows the "Page Banner was Clicked From" for each sale, so I can see the search engine query terms embedded in that address. But a problem even with this DTM traffic is that CJ doesn't have this same tracking that SAS has. So that's issue #1.

    Issue #2 is that, as an affiliate, for my non-DTM traffic (which goes to my partner merchant sites from my own affiliate sites), I don't see how Google Analytics or another such package could possibly track conversions for me. I don't have any control over my merchant partners' sites, so how can I insert a cookie or a URL string into the "success" page where the visitor buys a product, when it isn't even my success page/website to begin with?

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager 1av8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Issue #2 is that, as an affiliate, for my non-DTM traffic (which goes to my partner merchant sites from my own affiliate sites), I don't see how Google Analytics or another such package could possibly track conversions for me. I don't have any control over my merchant partners' sites, so how can I insert a cookie or a URL string into the "success" page where the visitor buys a product, when it isn't even my success page/website to begin with?
    As a Merchant, it would be impossible for me to put in every affs tracking, soooo...wouldn't it be great if the network ran your adwords javascript when the desired CPA event happens?

  9. #9
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Yep that'd be cool, but AFAIK it doesn't happen. For issue #2, even with SAS all I see is my site's own URL address come through in the "Page Banner was Clicked From" field. I think after implementing Donuts' suggestions with the auto-tags, I'll be able to see which search engine the sale resulted from, which is an improvement. But so far, now that I started using Google's auto-tagging all that I see in the SAS field is an encoded set of characters after my URL something like this:

    http: // www .mysite .com/?gclid=CJ27yc2buYwCFRByYAodx1m

    That lets me see that it was a Google referral so it's an improvement over not using tagging, and hopefully MSN and Yahoo will append more info than that (including search query) and that these pieces of info will pass through all the way to the actual transaction referral info. But again, this is SAS only, and many of my merchants are with CJ. I'm playing with MSN and Yahoo right now to see how their tagging passes through to SAS. I know that CJ has a field for SID, but again I don't know that I'd be able to get my merchants to pass my SID into their "success" (CPA event such as lead or sale) pages.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    FYI, in one of the presentations at the SMX conference an AdWords rep said that they will soon introduce query reporting, which will show what queries triggered your ads plus the type of match (broad/phrase/exact) that occurred.

  11. #11
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Good deal. I look forward to that.

    Meanwhile, I turned on the auto-tagging function in Google a few days ago and my AdWords-based conversions seem to have gotten significantly worse. Might be coincidence, though. Google says in the help page for auto-tagging that some web hosts might not be able to support that appended gclid string on landing pages, but I can't imagine that that would be a problem with my web host which is a well-known one that's been around for many years, uses Apache on some version of unix. I hope this isn't a problem, as it'd be really nice to be able to distinguish conversions from the three PPC SEs for all my SAS merchants. And CJ really needs to make referral URLs available in transaction stats as SAS does!

  12. #12
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    What about the keyword discovery tool to see what users are searching for?

  13. #13
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Yep, I use that along with the ol' Overture suggestion tool and some other tools while I'm doing my keyword research. But that's not really the problem I'm referring to here. I probably should have phrased it as "is there a way to find out exact queries searched on that resulted in my own ads being clicked?" rather than how I asked it in the subject line. If all search engines let us peruse the exact queries people have used to get to our ads and click them, it'd help a huge amount in refining/pricing broad and phrase matches and setting up better negatives. Not to mention it'd shed some light on exact phrases we should be using that we didn't know about. Plain old public-arena keyword research doesn't tell me what people were thinking when they clicked *my* ad specifically.

  14. #14
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Yep, I use that along with the ol' Overture suggestion tool and some other tools while I'm doing my keyword research. But that's not really the problem I'm referring to here. I probably should have phrased it as "is there a way to find out exact queries searched on that resulted in my own ads being clicked?" rather than how I asked it in the subject line. If all search engines let us peruse the exact queries people have used to get to our ads and click them, it'd help a huge amount in refining/pricing broad and phrase matches and setting up better negatives. Not to mention it'd shed some light on exact phrases we should be using that we didn't know about. Plain old public-arena keyword research doesn't tell me what people were thinking when they clicked *my* ad specifically.
    I gotcha. Sorry about that. That would be helpful indeed.

  15. #15
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    No prob. And it's sleepytime now for me!

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    Search query reports are now available from Google.
    http://adwords.google.com/support/bi...34&topic=11441

  17. #17
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Sorry to re-open this ol' thing, but I've followed Donuts' instructions (in post #4 of this thread) and I'm curious if anyone has had problems with conversions/commission tracking on any of their affiliate links and websites, as a result of any of the "Big Three" (G, MSN, Y) search engines' tracking codes that are automatically appended to the end of the destination URLs (if you turn that function on). I've turned them on and seen recent sales slumps, but it could be due to any number of a multitude of factors. Just want to possibly rule this one out and get other people's experiences.

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