adwords search query report
blog post | marketing

Top 3 Ways to Use Adwords Search Query Reports

Josh Muskin Team Photo
Josh MuskinHead of Sales & Marketing

As advertisers, it is our job to put ourselves in the mind of the user. Knowing what goes on in their head helps to determine exactly what terms and phrases they will be using to search for our product or service.

What happens when you are struggling to determine your user’s motivators and your client was not able to provide any direction?

This is where search query reports are extremely helpful. We have discovered the best 3 ways to use them to unlock the inner workings of your customer or client’s mind.

Add Keywords

There is an old adage, “The customer is always right”.  Well, when it comes to PPC, we need to get better at listening.

Search query reports give us an insight into exactly what our customer is looking for and how they are using language we never thought of to get there.

For example: You are advertising Case Management  Software and all of your keywords represent are comprised of the following:

  • Case Management Software
  • The Best Case Management Software
  • Enterprise Case Management Software
  • Etc.

You think this is perfect targeting and you are the king of keyword targeting!


You go into our search query report and see that all of your potential clients aren’t looking for “software” they’re looking for “solutions”.

This tells you that maybe you should be targeting keywords like:

  • Web Based Case Management Solutions
  • Comprehensive Digital Case Management Solutions
  • Etc.

By knowing this information, you can add these “solution” based keywords to your adgroups (or possibly even make a new adgroup) and change your ad copy accordingly.

By doing so, you can increase your click-through rates because your ads and targeting will be more relevant to your users searches. This in turn will help to increase your quality scores and ultimately lower your cost per lead!

Add Negatives

As simple as it is to find new and relevant keywords and add them to your account, it’s just as easy to find keywords users are using that have nothing to do with your product or service.

That’s where negatives come in handy!

You can find words and phrases that you don’t want to be associated with our campaigns by analyzing the search query report.

For example: These words could include:

  • Free
  • Demo
  • Trial
  • Etc.

Adding negatives in general is always a good idea because you are limiting the searches triggering our ads to ones that are more relevant to your product or service.

Adding negatives based on the search query reports is a great idea because you know for a fact that these keywords are wasting your money.

Using Search Query Reports to Expand Your Campaigns

We saved our favorite method of using search query reports for last!

Assuming your campaigns have very tightly themed adgroups taking advantage of phrase and exact keywords more than broad (right?), there is a small chance that you’re missing out on small niche keyword targets.

Here is how you can find them.

Step 1: Download An All Time Search Query Report

Go into the campaign you plan to expand and click into the keywords tab. Set your date range for “all time”, run a search query report, and export it to excel.

Note: If you have a lot of conversion data, try to limit the rest of this process to keywords that have converted. If not, you’re just going to have a longer list to sift through.

Step 2: Sort Your Keywords

Sort your keywords by conversions (or if you have little conversion data, some type of volume metric, i.e. clicks, impressions).

Then, remove any keywords that don’t have at least one conversion (or a reasonable amount of volume).

Step 3: Analyze Your Keywords

Using a tool like, analyze your keyword list.

What you’ll be looking for is the “most commonly used word/phrase” section of this analysis.

Use this list to look for words or phrases that would be considered outliers from your typical root keyword. Using our example from earlier, if you’re typically using words like “case management software”, then look for words or phrases outside of those that are relevant to your product or service (i.e. social worker, batman, etc.).

Step 4: Find the Trends

Once you have this information, start to look for trends amongst your outlier terms.

If you’re finding that users are searching heavily for “legal case management software”, you can deduce that there is profitable search volume out there for such a term.

You can then use that information to create new adgroups to target un-penetrated segments of your target market.

Step 5: Create New Adgroups

Using the trends you have discovered in your search query reports, you can now create new, tightly themed adgroups targeting specific keyword niches that you were missing before!

These adgroups are all but guaranteed to be low funnel (based on your historic conversion data) and because they’re going to be made up of largely long tail keywords, your conversions should be cheaper than normal.

Search query reports are much more than endless misspellings and consumer gibberish. They represent a whole world of undiscovered, and potentially profitable search volume.

Your search queries are ripe, low hanging fruit, just waiting to be picked.

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