A World Without Search Data and What it Means for AddThis

Two years ago, Google started encrypting searches for signed-in users, and many speculated at the time that Google would eventually encrypt 100% of searches even for those not signed-in. That prediction came true as Google announced it would encrypt all keyword searches for all users starting this week.


The Search Encryption Backstory

Things began to change back in October 2011, when Google announced encrypting search data for users logged into a Google service, like YouTube and Gmail. It was estimated a small percentage of data would be affected. Then this year, several browsers started defaulting to encrypted search even when users aren’t logged into a Google service.

You may have noticed in Google Analytics an increasing percentage of “Not Provided” results in your keyword search analytics. For the publishers who’ve only been relying on this data to drive their content engagement, the news might seem like the wind has been taken from their sails. However, if you look closely, you’ll realize you’re only missing a piece of the puzzle.

What This Means for AddThis

At AddThis, our advertising solutions are powered by data, and until now, that included search referral data from Google. Keep in mind, the other big search engines like Yahoo and Bing have not encrypted their data, so we’ll still see a portion of the search referral universe. Search data, however, is only part of all the data we see in aggregate. Our tools are now on over 14 million domains around the word––that is one of the largest footprints on the open Web, and it continues to grow every day.

The loss of Google search referral data will provide AddThis with even more opportunities to help brands and advertisers. Our modelling, classification and other machine learning algorithms coupled with our vast anonymous behavioral data allows us to derive significant intent and personalization signal which enables us to deliver successful campaign results.

Content Engagement Now Paramount

The loss of search referral data makes content engagement strategies even more important because content engagement drives insight. For this reason, many companies have made content marketing strategies paramount. The attention span of the consumer is shorter than ever before, and their engagement spans across multiple devices. That’s why a sound content marketing strategy is critical to maintaining their attention.

AddThis is the company that is streamlining and maximizing content engagement across devices and across platforms, while giving you insights in one simple, easy-to-use dashboard.

So if you haven’t optimized your site with our latest product called Smart Layers, check it out today! And if you’re worried about your ability to reach targeted audiences as a result of not seeing search referral data, contact us today. We’re here to help.