Google Strengthens Keyword Planning Results with Inclusion of Mobile Data Features

It was only a matter of time. With the emergence of sequential-screening, the need for actionable segmented insights by device, time and location has significantly increased.

Advertisers are catching on to what Google discovered earlier – namely that users are engaging in moments that matter. Nothing spells “missed opportunity” more than online targeted advertising campaigns that haven’t reached the right people, at the right time, on the right device, in the right place.

In a recent Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwartz, he detailed nine exciting new features in the Google Keyword Planner tool, which is now available through Google AdWords. These features enable campaign owners to compare total volume by device type, isolate results by location, and compare those results over a specified period of time.

Exhibit A provides a glimpse into one notable enhancement of mobile trends for the targeted key phrase of “mutual funds.” Volumes for each bar are displayed when hovered over with cursor. From this view, mobile trends in green are compared to total volume for multiple devices in blue.

Exhibit A: Mobile Trends for “mutual funds” key phrase.



Exhibit B provides a view of an additional significant insight of breakdown by device, which delineates mobile into smartphone (mobile devices with full browsers) and tablets, along with desktop searches. From this visualization, advertisers may better determine the role and impact that each device type has on a focused campaign effort by key phrase.

Exhibit B: Breakdown by device for “mutual funds” key phrase.



These enhancements mark a notable shift in feature-rich power in keyword research for advertisers. Previously, expensive enterprise level analytics tools would have been needed to help extract similar segmented insights.

Now the flexibility to adjust marketing messaging is leveraged by an extension of available campaign target features.

Want to see the impact of seasonality for a key phrase over a custom specified date cycle? No problem!

Need to target your campaign by location or compare device impact by key phrase for a particular set of states? No problem!

What if states are too broad, and you instead need to target by DMA, congressional district, county, municipality, city, postal code, neighborhood, university, or airport? Again, no problem.

There are limitations to the new features though. The new Keyword Planner features were quietly rolled out by Google, and they are not directly available or apparent to users when the users log into Google AdWords.

As an example, when a user opts to open Keyword Planner from the Google AdWords “Tools” link, the first set of options offer no visible clues that these new features exist. However, the magic happens when the user selects an option, such as “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”, applies a target key phrase, and clicks “Get Ideas.”

The magic is in the form of a small drop down box on the top left corner of the bar chart displayed, stating nothing more than “Search volume trends.” Be forewarned though, that once this drop down is clicked on, your world will forever change, and you will likely not resurface from your campaign discovery session for several hours, if ever!

Another point of ambiguity is in how to drill down by segmented locations. To target by location, the user needs to select “Breakdown by location” from the drop down menu, then click on the “Targeting:” facets box for location-based targets. If the user is in the U.S, then the default is set to the United States. As additional locations are added, the graph will automatically update to reflect contribution of monthly searches by location.

It’s not all peaches and cream though. If you are a serious data analyst, and your goal is to extract raw data with these segmentations to blend with other factors for a more holistic view for predictive forecast modeling, you are in for a world of disappointment. None of the new segmented data, save for “Segment statistics by month” are currently included in the download option to CSV or Excel.

While the new feature enhancements are not perfect, they are a wonderful addition and step in the right direction. Such features will provide advertisers and content marketers the ability to expand their insights beyond the desktop horizon. Marketers will also have the means to reach the right users, at the right moments, in the right places, for the right devices, at the right times. Ultimately, such insights will help overcome assumption-based strains and help drive lift in conversions.


Schwartz, B. (2014). Google adds new features to the Keyword Planner tools. Search Engine Land. Retrieved from