Analyze Your Query Data in a Brand New Way: N-Grams

By Brad


New Features, Search Terms

We’re on a quest to make managing your overwhelming amount of PPC data much easier. This technique can help you in both Google AdWords and Bing Ads to find negative keywords and insights into your own data.

It’s already easy to manage ads, quality score, and make bulk ad changes within Adalysis.

We’ve just launched several new features to make analyzing your search query and negative keywords much easier.

N-Gram Data

An N-Gram Primer

Most people don’t know what n-grams are, so we’ll cover what they are in laymen’s terms and how important and powerful this feature really is.

N-grams analyze the instances of a word or phrase across all query data.

To show a very simple example, let’s say you examine your query data and you have something that looks like this (very simple for illustration):

Query Clicks Conversions
Plumbers 100 10
Plumbers in Los Angeles 10 0
Plumbers in Munich 10 0
Plumber Licensed 50 5
Licensed Plumbers in Chicago 10 0
Plumbers in Boston 10 0
Licensed Plumber 25 4
Plumbers in San Fran 10 0
Plumbers in Seattle 10 0

Upon examining that data, most people would assume:

  • We need these keywords in the account:
    • Plumbers
    • Licensed plumber
    • Plumber licensed
  • We don’t have enough data to work with any of the other queries as the clicks are too low

Now, instead of looking at each term, n-grams allow you to examine each term and it’s instance count (word frequency appearance) across the query data.

N-Gram data says you really have this:

Query Term Instance Clicks Conversions
Plumbers 9 235 19
Licensed 3 85 9
In 6 60 0

Suddenly we have a very different picture of our data.

We can see that when the word ‘in’ appears across all these low volume queries, we don’t have any conversions. The word ‘in’ usually signifies a location search. Therefore, you could either try to localize your ads and landing pages or add the word ‘in’ as a negative keyword.

While this is a simplistic example, when you have thousands (or millions) of search queries, it’s incredibly difficult to see patterns like these; so we’ve brought n-gram query data to Adalysis.

Examining Your N-Gram Data

You can navigate to the N-Gram data under search terms and see your n-gram data.


Clicking on the +icon will show you the actual search queries (which can be sorted by any row) where the n-gram appeared.


We calculate n-gram data for 1, 2, and 3 word instances. To add n-grams as negatives, just select the words, and click ‘add as negative’. From here you can easily change the match type and choose where to add these negatives.


As the computational power of this is immense, we only run this analysis once a week; however, that should be often enough to give you amazing insights into your data.

Here’s a full slide show of how to manage the N-Gram data.


Other Great Search Query & Negative Management Tools

Last week we launched several other tools for helping you to manage search queries and add negative keywords. Here’s a rundown of the new functions.

Negative Keyword Conflicts

I can’t count the number of times someone can’t figure out why a word isn’t showing or receiving impressions only to find out there’s a buried negative keyword somewhere.

We launched a report that makes it easy to find negative keyword conflicts. You can click on the alert and just delete the negative right from the popup that shows you the conflicting negative keyword:



Easily Cleanup Your Negatives

Negative keywords can be difficult to manage as you might have ad group, campaign, and negative keyword lists that can stop ads from showing.

An analysis of several accounts showed us that many users have the exact same negative keywords in every ad group within their campaigns. Instead of trying to manage negatives at the ad group level, we’ve provided an easy way to move all these negatives to the campaign level (assuming they are in every active ad group) with a single click:



See Similar Negatives to a Search Term

As you analyze search terms, you often want to know if you have similar negative keywords that might be blocking variations of a term or if you’ve blocked similar words in the past. You can click on the search icon and see negative keywords (ad group, campaign, or campaign lists) that are similar to a search term.



See the Keyword & Ad Pairings for Search Terms

When you are analyzing search terms and deciding if you want to make them negatives, you often want to know the ad and keyword that triggered that search term to understand if the low performance isn’t due to the search term itself, but because of the keyword, ad, and landing page.

If you click on the spotlight search icon, we’ll show you the ads and keyword that caused that search term to be displayed.



Easily Add Negative Keywords

Lastly, adding many keywords at once can be difficult.

If you just select the search terms you don’t want to show for anymore, you can easily add them in various match types and to the ad group, campaign, or keyword negative list (if you have any created).

This is an easy way to add lots of negatives at the appropriate level within your account.




Find Modified Broad Match Keywords


When a negative keyword contains a +plus sign, it acts strangely. Sometimes the plus sign is ignored, sometimes the keyword is ignored, and other strange behaviors can apply as modified broad match is not a negative keyword match type.

As many people copy and paste their keywords, plus signs included, into negative keyword boxes, we’ll show an error in the negative keyword information when a plus sign appears in your negative keyword.

If you have any feedback on these tools, please let us know.

If you haven’t tried Adalysis AdWords management software yet, take it for a free 14-day spin to see how these tools can help you improve your account.

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One Comment

  • Shaun B

    Awesome stuff!

  • Leave a comment

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