You may have noticed that Alight Analytics provides standard datasets that reference "keywords" and "search terms" and, after activating both datasets, you also noticed that the data looks pretty similar. So what is the difference between a "keyword" and "search term"?
I could provide a very thought-out definition of each and leave you in awe of my command of the English language, but Google already figured that you were going to ask this question and provided an explanation here in their Help Center. You might be suspicious of strange links, so I copy/pasted their explanation below:
What's the difference between a search term and a keyword? A search term is a word or set of words a person enters when searching on Google or one of our Search Network sites. A keyword is a word or set of words that Google Ads advertisers can add to a given ad group so that your ads are targeting the right audience.
Example: David is looking to buy a Valentine’s Day bouquet online. He types “red roses” into the search box on Google. “Red roses” is the search term. Let's say you're the owner of an online flower business and manage a Google Ads account. Since you've included the word “roses” as a keyword in your Google Ads campaign, your ad may be eligible to show on David’s search results page.
So that is all well and good, but you are very astute and noticed that one of the search term datasets specifically references "smart campaigns".
- Does that mean that the Google Ads | Smart Campaign Search Term Standard Dataset only refers to search terms that trigger smart campaign ads?
- Does the Keyword Standard Dataset include keywords that you have set up for smart campaigns?
- Unfortunately, no, it does not. Smart campaign data is currently only provided at the campaign level (Google Ads API Documentation for Smart Campaign API Reporting) and the Smart Campaign Search Term Dataset is considered a campaign level report.
- Can I get search term data for anything else that isn't a smart campaign?
- Absolutely. See the Google Ads | Keyword Search Term Standard Dataset and Google Ads | Keyword Search Term Conversion Standard Dataset.
- You will notice that there are more dimensions and metrics available in these datasets than there are in the Smart Campaign Search Term Dataset (for example: conversion dimensions and metrics are not available for smart campaigns). This is a limitation of the API and Google Ads just hasn't made as many dimensions and metrics available for smart campaigns.
If you have further questions about your data, please reach out to Support.