Search marketers have been quite unsettled for a while now as Google has limited the amount of data available in Google Analytics. They have done so to “protect the privacy” of their users who use the Search Engine while logged in under a Google account. What used to be a wealth of keyword-specific data in our Analytics reports has turned into a list that gives you “Not Provided” as the major source of your traffic. This has caused tension amongst marketers.

The reason for this unrest is that one of the major advantages of online marketing is the wealth of data available that allows you narrow your reach to the most profitable niches of the internet and to eliminate any channels that are not spending your money efficiently. If you take that away, what’s left? You are just another advertising medium that has trouble pinpointing your exact reach and effectiveness.

The saving grace of all of this has been that we can at least still pull all data from Google Adwords. While Analytics may not give us the full story about how people ended up on our site, as least we still had a breadth of information about who clicked on what ads, and what they did when they got to the site.

Well, now that is about to change as well. Google announced recently that they are expanding the idea of secure search by “removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on”. SSL essentially just means “secure”, which means that, just as with Adwords, data will be limited for any users logged into a Google profile.

Now, Google claims that we will still have access to the Search Terms report, which gives a lot of helpful data regarding the search queries that ended up with Paid Search traffic to your site, but it is very interesting to note that Google is messing with this data at all.

After all, Adwords brings in an insane amount of revenue for the search giant, and advertisers are already gunshy about these privacy issues.

Only Google knows if this is the extent of the roll-out or if there is more to come, but we certainly hope that data does start to dissappear, as that negatively affects the ability of Search Marketing Agencies to make campaigns as profitable as possible.

Of course, here at TwentySix2, we will be dominating the Paid Search channels and achieving the highest possible ROI for our clients. We’re just preparing ourselves (and you, hence the blogpost!) for what may constitute a Brave New World in the online marketing community.


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