Updated Adwords Traffic Estimator still leaves much to be desired


The Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool was recently updated. While the keyword planner has several functions, the traffic estimator is the real bread and butter of the Keyword Planner. Unfortunately, the traffic estimator has let me down in the past with its highly inaccurate estimates. Since the keyword planner was recently updated, I decided to give the traffic estimator another chance and it appears to be more accurate at predicting impressions and some of the new features are a step in the right direction. However, the traffic estimator is still far from perfect.

The most important function of the traffic estimator is its ability to estimate traffic. Despite the fact that it’s just an estimator, I do expect a certain level of accuracy.  Fortunately, the estimator is much improved at predicting how many impressions broadmatch keywords will receive. While the tool is good at estimating impressions, I don’t think it’s safe to put much weight in the tool’s ability to estimate clicks, CTR, average position, etc. Those KPIs will be highly dependent on how you set up the campaign, your bidding strategy, how compelling your ad copy is compared to your competitors, etc.

Google Keyword Planner Traffic Estimator
Google Adwords Keyword Planner Traffic Estimator Device – While the traffic estimations are indeed improved, they are still far from perfect, so they must be taken with a grain of salt

So what about the new features? A nice new feature of the traffic estimator is the inclusion of a date range selector. Now you can get estimates based on a specific time period and display the estimates by day, week, month, quarter or year.

This date range selector is indeed a pretty nifty addition to the estimator. You can also see estimates by device or location. With the rising tides of mobile traffic, being able to segment estimates by device is appreciated.

Despite these updates, there is still a glaring problem with the tool – The traffic estimator is still unable to give estimates for modified broadmatch keywords. Also, the estimates of phrase or exact match keywords are often wildly inaccurate. Generally, it seems that the estimates are lower than actual data, regardless of match type, so it’s a good idea to round up a bit from what the Keyword Planner says when trying to predict impressions.

In closing, the update to the Google Adwords traffic estimator are definitely something for SEM professionals to get excited about. Hopefully, Google will continue to update the planner so we can get decent estimates on matchtypes other than broadmatch. Now if only Google could get around to fixing the broken search by location SERP tool…

Search Engine Location
You can fix this Google… You have the power.

Josh Schafernak

Joshua Schafernak is a SEM/PPC Analyst at Dealer Product Services. Before working at DPS, Joshua spent several years as a SEM/Web Content Specialist. In his personal life, Joshua enjoys video games, science fiction/fantasy, graphic novels, comedy, music, weightlifting, creative writing and vegetarian cooking.


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