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Google Updates its AdWords Keyword Tool — With Great Results

Google Updates its AdWords Keyword Tool — With Great Results

google keyword planner

Earlier this week, Google unveiled a much-needed update to its one of its most important tools, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s the latest in a series of updates that have affected the way search engine marketers (SEMs) work.

In recent months, algorithm updates have obfuscated data, making it harder for SEM practitioners to peer into the depths of Google’s soul and emerge with quality results for their clients. Now, practitioners and clients are asking what the latest update from Mountain View will mean for them.

What the AdWords Keyword Planner Update Means

While the AdWords Keyword Planner had utility before, it was a very rough instrument. It could hack away at billions of keywords found in Google, but the results were crude and rudimentary.

The exported data gave you a search term, its overall traffic, estimated cost-per-click (CPC) price, and a few other data points, but Google Adwords Keyword Tool 2.0 gives SEMs a much more in-depth look at keyword data.

With the new tool, everything from search trends over time to breakdowns of searches per device are now available.

For us at Forthea, the update means we have a greater opportunity to access and mine the best, most cost-effective keywords for our clients. This new data, unavailable just last week, paints a much brighter picture that’ll help us shape campaigns on a new level of sophistication.

Here are the changes in more detail:

1. Time selection and comparison

Clients know their companies are affected by seasonality, but they usually aren’t too sure how it affects their brand, products, and services online. This feature is extremely valuable because it allows us and our clients to understand the correlation of seasonality to their paid and organic search marketing efforts.

The update also allows for users to compare trends — to the previous year, month, or custom — and see a visual representation of the changes in search volume over time. By giving SEM professionals access to this time-based information, interactive marketing firms like Forthea now have a starting point for discovering where and when we need to adjust bids and budgets throughout the year.

2. Device performance

People search differently on different devices. While this was generally understood by people working in search, this Keyword Planner update now shows us exactly what that looks like.

The update gives us a snapshot of how a specific keyword will perform on mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. Additionally, this subset of data can be overlaid with seasonal trends associated with each device, giving us a far more holistic view of keyword usage.

Now that we’re about knee deep in the “rise-of-mobile” movement, we can also use this tool to get a leg up on competitors by monitoring keyword movement in relation to each device.

3. Location targeting

Have a nationwide, statewide, or metro client that needs specific geographical targeting? Do you need to target a specific congressional district? Such activity is now possible because the update allows us to use the location targeting feature in Keyword Planner to find out how locations have performed in the past for a particular keyword or set of keywords.

This level of granularity will be able to help us to build hyper-local ad campaigns around cities and states with a growing search volume, ultimately creating more efficient search marketing strategies for our clients.

4. Bid adjustment previews

The bid adjustment previews will demonstrate how modifiers for device and location bids will affect potential traffic volume before the change is rolled out.

This will help alleviate a lot of stress that goes into analyzing dimensions (device and location) to see what bid changes are in order.


All told, the update to the Keyword Planner is huge news for anyone who uses Google Adwords. With greater access to detailed data, smart interactive marketing firms like Forthea will be able to drill deep into this information and deliver better results for our clients.

What do you think of the changes? Are you excited about Google’s decision to make this data more transparent?

Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).


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