Back in November of 2006, our friends at GA Experts posted a method to get detailed PPC keyword data from Google Analytics. This method involved creating a seperate profile and using some intimidating but powerful filters. I really liked and referenced this method because it isolated the changes to a single profile and didn’t involve any updates to the GA tracking code. Obviously I would prefer if this feature came built-in to GA but at least now you could get to some very useful data with very little work.Lots of keywords!

As Google Analytics was updated over time, the way the filters were using Custom Field 1 was no longer possible and so the profile broke. The smart folks over at ROI Revolution came up with another way to get to the exact PPC keyword data using the User Defined field and adding 2 lines to the GA tracking code. This was a great solution and probably suitable for a lot of people. However, I preferred not having to update the tracking code (this can be very difficult on some client sites), saving the User Defined field for other uses, and also being able to isolate the keyword extraction and concatenation to one profile.

I still see some blogs referring to the original method that doesn’t work anymore so one day I tried playing with the original filters approach and after 2 months of observing the data, it appears to be working correctly. Please follow these screenshots & instructions to give it a try for yourself.

Filter 1 – look at only paid traffic data.

  1. From your account, click on Filter Manager.
  2. Click on Add Filter.
  3. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC.
  4. Filter type is custom filter.
  5. Select on the Include option.
  6. The filter field should be Campaign Medium.
  7. The filter pattern can be cpc|ppc
  8. Click on Save Changes.

PPC Keywords Filter 1

Filter 2 – extract the actual keyword that was typed and concatenate it to the paid keyword that was matched.

  1. Assuming you are still in the Filter Manager, click on Add Filter.
  2. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC Keywords.
  3. Filter type is custom filter.
  4. Select the Advanced option.
  5. Field A -> Extract A should be set to Referral and the value needs to be (\?|&)(q|p|query)=([^&]*)
  6. Field B -> Extract B should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be (.*)
  7. Output -> Constructor should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be $B1 – ($A3)
  8. Field A required, Field B required, and Override Output Field all need to be set to Yes.

Please click on the screenshot to view the full version.

PPC Keywords Filter 2

Finally create a new profile with a name such as PPC Keywords Data and all your usual settings (default page, search settings, goals, etc). Make sure you apply these two new filters to it.

This method seems to work for Google, Yahoo, and MSN paid traffic. Below is a screenshot with sample results. Let me know if it works for you!

Result of PPC Keywords filters

About the Author

Rehan Asif