Google’s New Privacy Policy & Paid Ads (PPC)

When you sign in to, your organic search is conducted in a secure context. If you visit a site from those search results, the visit is still categorized as organic, but your query terms are not available in the report. The label (not provided) is used in place of the query terms.

Referral traffic and cpc traffic are not affected by the secure context, nor are any of your other statistics like conversion rates.

– Google Analytics Help

One of the most powerful data charts available to you in Google Analytics is the Referring Keyword report under the Traffic Sources > Search section. In here, you can determine user referral and on-site activity deriving from organic and paid search word activity. For example, you can determine the number of visits from these referrals, pages/visit, average time spent on site, and conversion data such as Goals (leads) or Sales.

Chart 1:

For obvious reasons, knowing what keywords are yielding high quality visitors, those who stay long or convert to customers, is very valuable information. You can use this information to determine which organic keywords have yielded conversions and thus add those keywords to your paid advertising campaign. Or, vice versa, knowing which words produce conversions via PPC might assist you in determining which words to target for improved organic visibility.

Chart 2:

But Google’s new Privacy Policy addition throws a monkey wrench into this situation. Now, Google searches from organic sources done via a logged in** Google account will no longer be reported. You will now see a big fat “Not Provided” appearing in your organic search report! While this applies to a relatively small amount of users (less than 10% right now according to Google), this number will most likely rise as people become savvier and search Google via personalized accounts. This dearth of information will most likely become increasingly problematic for those who rely on accurate search results to fuel their organic search engine optimization strategies.

** This refers to users who created a Google account at one time or another and clicked to login to prior to performing their keyword search.

Chart 3:

The good news is that referrals from paid search are exempt from this restriction. All keywords that you purchase via a paid advertising account in Google AdWords are completely tracked and measured. For this reason, running paid ads on Google has become an even more important and vital part of the Internet marketing mix.

Chart 4:

Keyword data (visits, conversions, etc.) is recorded within the Google AdWords account, as always. But more qualitative, in-depth data is available via Google Analytics. Therefore, the ability to have complete and accurate keyword referral data makes running paid advertising an even more valuable thing.

When deciding where to allocate your Internet marketing budget, knowing that you will get more accurate data from paid advertising might influence your decision to either initiate a PPC account or allocate more money to that account in future months.

Many sources vie for your advertising budget – banner ads, organic search engine optimization, email marketing, etc. It’s critical to operate with as accurate a set of data as possible so that you can be sure you are making the right Internet marketing decisions.

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