Upcoming Changes to the Google AdWords Connector

Earlier this month, Google announced that AdWords would no longer provide information on what query (search term or phrase) a visitor used when clicking on an ad. This is a similar move to what they did previously with natural (non-paid) searches. Unfortunately, this means that many tracking solutions no longer receive complete data around a visitor’s session. This means that right now, you may see an increased amount of visitors with no query information provided and marked as a Google Paid Ad (as opposed to being more specific about whether it was from a paid search ad, content network ads, or display ads).

We’re going to look on the bright side of Google’s changes and use this as an opportunity to significantly improve upon our AdWords connector’s existing functionality.

Note: We are still correctly tying the Ad clicked to the prospect (and ultimately the opportunity if your CRM is attached) for ROI reporting. Google is just not sending us the query used.

More data captured:

  • The keyword used to trigger the ad. Note that a keyword is different than a query. My query might be “best marketing automation products,” but the keyword that triggers the ad could be “marketing automation.”
  • The match type: broad, phrase, or exact.
  • The network of the search: Google AdWords, Google’s search network (partners/content sites), or the display ad network.
  • The device of the user: mobile, tablet, or desktop/laptop.

New setting:

The Pardot (and most other tracking systems) AdWords Connector works by appending tracking parameters to the destination URL (not the display URL that shows up in the creative) of your ads such that they look like the following:

If you started with:


It would become:


Pardot currently auto-appends this when you verify the connector. That auto-append will now be optional, so if you use other tracking systems that may add their own parameters, or if you want to do this manually (or not at all), you have options.

Unfortunately, anytime you change anything relating to a Google Ad, it is immediately archived and reproduced as a new ad. While this didn’t have significant implications in the past, Google has been using a quality score for a while as a factor in determining cost per click. Anytime you edit an ad (even to append tracking parameters), your quality score/history resets.

One New Report and One Deprecated Report

Since Google no longer provides the query (exactly what someone entered in the search box), we’ll be deprecating our current Paid Search Query Report. We will replace that with an AdWords Keyword (what keyword triggered the Ad click) report. It’s not quite the same thing, but it has many of the same impacts for a marketer (knowing which keywords to throw budget behind).

Expect to see changes roll out gradually over the next couple of months.

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One thought on “Upcoming Changes to the Google AdWords Connector

  • thanks Adam, great write-up and looking forward to the new updates rolling out.

    personally i find it a little rich that google are denying advertisers (and webmasters) query information – i dont see how it impacts on the security of searchers. these same searchers are giving up lots of other data when visiting a website, why not the query? it seems more of an attempt by google to keep advertisers in the dark so they use a more shotgun approach at what keywords to bid on, and in the process spend more. and resetting QS when making even a minor change to an ad … dont get me started!

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