In the past, search marketers were required to use at least two separate tools to build and make changes to campaigns.  The first, the Keyword Tool, would help users find specific keywords that they might want their business to rank for as well as competition and total search estimates at the national and global levels.  The second, the Traffic Estimator, would help users  take the keywords that they’d chosen in this first stage and see how they might perform and at what cost.  Unfortunately, while both of these services are integral to the process, using information from one to make decisions in the other was sometimes clunky and inconvenient due to the disconnect between the two.

All of this is about to change.  Recently, Google started rolling out a new AdWords feature that combines the Keyword Tool and the Traffic Estimator.  It’s called Keyword Planner, and if all goes well, it should be a nice addition to any digital marketer’s repertoire.  Keyword Planner allows you to experiment, sandbox-like, with different keyword ideas and their conjectured results and then save your work for use in other functional areas of the tool (i.e., switching between brainstorming keywords, reviewing projected stats like cost-per-click, and inserting ad groupsin to a campaign), ensuring a more organized, smoother transition (previously, users would have to save, switch tools, then perform some ponderous copy and paste operation).  The new tool is in a wizard format, offering a nice little guided experience with three different tracks for you to choose: “search for keyword and ad group ideas,” “enter or upload keywords to get estimates,” and “multiply keyword lists to get estimates.”   The hope is that combining these tools into one will speed up workflow and make setting up campaigns and ad groups a little bit easier.

The changes involve a deep set of features that is beyond the scope of this article.  Larry Kim, who managed to find out about the update during the early stages of its rollout and has had significant time to play around with it, has written an excellent, detailed article on how the Google Keyword Planner works and the new features that will be added on top of the merging applications.  I’d highly recommend reading it if you want to get the full picture of all the ways this could be beneficial for your marketing strategy.

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