What I Learned by Analysing Long Tail Keywords in Google AdWords for Different Industries


Long Tail Keywords have long been a source of intense discussion among PPC and SEO experts. One can find tons of online articles explaining various strategies to rank better in organic search as well as paid search. At AdNabu, We focus a lot on long tail keywords by creating extensive and well structured AdWords search campaigns. We believe that having as much granular data as possible about keywords will help us optimize the AdWords campaigns better. There are also lots of myths and misconceptions around long tail keywords and their performance. In this article, We will however focus on how impressions vary for long tail keywords in different industries.

Long Tail Keywords, Not Long Tail Search Terms

In this article we will be looking at long tail keywords and not long tail search terms. There is a lot of difference between keywords and search terms. But for the sake of simplicity, Lets assume that keywords are what advertisers use in google adwords & search terms are what people search for in google.

Long Tail Keywords for B2B Business

B2B Businesses have a longer sales cycle and hence they tend to target people who might broadly be interested in their product. This is the only category in which i have seen advertisers target with single word keyword eg adwords, ppc etc.

Keyword Length, Impressions percentage
1, 15.58
2, 43.16
3, 33.49
4, 7.51
5, 0.26

Long Tail Keywords for Local Service Provider

Local Service providers tend to see a impression share distribution which is more flat than most industries. This is partly due to people searching with the location in the search term for eg : “hotels in new york”

Keyword Length, Impressions percentage
2, 19.68
3, 37.87
4, 29.25
5, 11.14
6, 2.02
7, 0.04

Long Tail Keywords for Ecommerce

Ecommerce searches tend to be more long tail than any other industry in comparison. Even an exact match for a product can be 3-4 words long eg “apple iphone 6 plus”. The combination of huge number of searches and the varied interests users might have (price, buy, sell etc), leads to a more long tail heavy campaigns

Keyword Length, Impressions percentage
2, 3.5
3, 22.05
4, 49.62
5, 20.06
6, 4.49
7, 0.28

Long Tail Keywords for Travel

Travel based searches are surprisingly focused around 3 word keywords. This could be because of the abundance of new search terms users could search for compared to any other industry.

Keyword Length, Impressions percentage
2, 40.64
3, 43.18
4, 16.07
5, 0.09
6, 0.02

Long Tail Keywords for National Service Provider

As expected, National service providers are more short tail focused than other industries. Absence of local specific search terms also contribute to the low number of long tail keywords. Most searches are also specific to the service offering and tend to be short tail eg : “personal loan”

Keyword Length, Impressions percentage
2, 14.13
3, 47.39
4, 35.83
5, 1.54
6, 0.58
7, 0.39
8, 0.06
9, 0.07

Insights into Impression Percentage for Different Industries

Here is a combined view of the distribution of impressions among different industries.

Keyword Length, B2B, National Service, Ecommerce, Travel, Local Service
1, 15.58, 0, 0, 0, 0
2, 43.16, 14.13, 3.5, 40.64, 19.68
3, 33.49, 47.39, 22.05, 43.18, 37.87
4, 7.51, 35.83, 49.62, 16.07, 29.25
5, 0.26, 1.54, 20.06, 0.09, 11.14
6, 0, 0.58, 4.49, 0.02, 2.02
7, 0, 0.39, 0.28, 0, 0.04
8, 0, 0.06, 0, 0, 0
9, 0, 0.07, 0, 0, 0
Indusrty vs Impression Percent

Possible Bias in Analysis

The above analysis might suffer from the following bias.

  • Insufficient data – the data is from a sample set of AdWords accounts which might not reflect the entire landscape
  • Dependency on AdWords Structure – One can just create a very short keyword (1 or 2 in length) and cover all long tail search terms. Here all AdWords account follow a strategy of creating as much long tail keywords as possible


Depending on your industry, An Advertiser might need to focus more on long tail keywords. Local Search and Ecommerce are two industries where one cannot afford to ignore long tail keywords. Even in other industries, it is a best practice to have long tail keywords but the impact might not be very prominent.

If you are interested in us analyzing any other industry, do let us know in the comments below

About the author

Salil Panikkaveettil

CEO and co founder of AdNabu. Exploring the intersection of data and marketing

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