Update: Google AdWords availability in Raven

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Update: Google AdWords access was restored to Raven on Nov. 28!

No company likes to send bad news to customers.

But it’s absolutely necessary when that news may matter to their companies and customers.

Yesterday, Raven’s Chief Product Officer Jon Henshaw emailed all of our account owners—both existing customers and those in trial now—to let them know that Raven expects to lose access to the Google AdWords API very soon. Our goal was to get as many facts to customers as we could, as directly as possible, so they could take action.

Raven learned of this issue late last week. Discussions about what’s best for our customers followed over the next few days. The company could have allowed the advertising tools to stay until the API access was pulled. In the end, Raven’s leaders made the difficult decision to turn off the affected tools rather than let them become useless to our customers when the API is eventually turned off.

That decision led to yesterday’s email.

Since then, we’ve heard from customers worldwide. Some of the questions we expected, and some completely surprised us. We’d like to share our answers so that everyone can be up to date. We’d also like to update you on the AdWords reporting that will still be available in Raven, and how that’s possible.

Common questions

1. Is [tool] or [data] still available?

We want to be very clear about this, as many customers have asked how this would affect Google Analytics, keyword research and rankings in Raven, for example. It is not true that Raven has lost all Google data, which is how some customers have misunderstood the situation. This issue only affects AdWords.

1. Google Analytics data in Raven is still available. Raven gets that data from the Google Analytics API, which is completely separate from the Google AdWords API and has not been affected by this. There is no such thing as a “Google API;” each entity offers separate APIs. Raven still integrates data from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools APIs — only access to the AdWords API is at risk.

2. The Keyword Manager and SERP Tracker tools are still available in Raven. We will continue to use the AdWords API data as long as it’s available. We have identified an alternate source for search volume and competitor data and will add that data to Raven as soon as possible. We will keep all customers up to date.

3. The Research Assistant tool is still available in Raven, and you will continue to see keyword data in results and reports from that tool. This data is from a reliable third party that Raven has worked with for years.

4. The following standalone tools will be removed completely from our platform at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14:

  • Ads > Google AdWords
  • Metrics > Google AdWords
  • Insights > Google AdWords
  • Research > Keywords > Google AdWords

2. Will this affect my ranking reports, and does this mean Raven will only have ranking results from Bing?

No, you can report rankings as usual. Raven gets weekly SERP ranking data for Google, Bing and other search engines from our third-party partner Authority Labs.

3. Is there an alternate way to report AdWords data in Raven?

Yes, as it turns out. The Google Analytics API passes some AdWords metrics to Raven. You can report on those metrics with Raven IF:

  1. You have synced your AdWords account to your Analytics account with Google.
  2. You have synced your Analytics account with Raven.
  3. You have checked this box in the Metrics > Google Analytics tool: “Enable – Check to include AdWords campaign and cost data within your Google Analytics reports.”
  4. You choose the AdWords:Summary and AdWords:Campaign modules in the Google Analytics section of the Report Wizard.

For step-by-step instructions in more detail, with screenshots, see our article in the Knowledge Base.

4. Why didn’t I get notified by email?

Raven emailed every single account owner — both existing customers and those currently in trial — and those emails were sent to the email address we have on file for each account. If you’re a Raven user but you’re not paying for the account, check with your account owner. Also, account owners, please make sure that the email address that you have associated with your Raven account is one that you check often. To check on or change your communication settings, please go to Main Settings > Contact Details. Look for the gear icon in the upper-right hand corner of every page in the Raven tool.

In Contact Details, any user (not just account owners) can also sign up to be notified of major Raven news and updates. Click “Subscribe” for “Raven Features, Tools & Company News.”

Common replies

1. Oh, no! We’re sorry to hear that. How can we help?

These responses warmed our hearts and made a bad day much better. As Raven’s Community Manager Courtney Seiter commented yesterday on Twitter:

RavenCourtney on Twitter

Thank you for your support.

2. [Expletive.]

Yeah, we hear you. We feel you. And we want to know how we can help you. Email support@raventools.com.

A few words about speculation

For every person who wanted to know how this change affected them, another person wanted to know why it happened. We understand the feeling.

We would like to tell you more, but it wouldn’t be appropriate. What we can tell you is that Raven is committed to providing data from Google, and we’re continuing the conversation with the AdWords team.

As far as whether this is happening to other companies or is an industry-wide thing, it’s not appropriate for us to speculate about other companies’ access to the AdWords API. We can only tell you what we know about Raven. The only way you can be sure is to contact other software companies directly.

Meanwhile, know that we’re continually researching data and data sources to integrate with Raven. Remember, Raven has more than 20 data partnerships and integrations, with dozens upon dozens of metrics for you to research, analyze and report. It’s part of our value that we’re able to offer you multiple data choices for research, for example, or that social metrics are merged with Google Analytics for more insight.

Thank you for being a loyal Raven customer.

39 Responses to “Update: Google AdWords availability in Raven”

  1. So disappointed – AdWords is 95% of the reason I use Raven. I can’t believe I moved from trial to paid today, and then saw the blog post (the email didn’t arrive). Refund?

  2. disgruntled

    “We would like to tell you more, but it wouldn’t be appropriate.”….

    “As far as whether this is happening to other companies or is an industry-wide thing, it’s not appropriate for us to speculate about other companies’ access to the AdWords API. We can only tell you what we know about Raven.”

    A bit contradictory don’t you think?

    “it wouldn’t be appropriate”? WTF does this mean?
    Terrible communication effort.

    • Arienne Holland

      I’m sorry you’re disgruntled. I’ll try to clarify.

      Raven can’t share more details than the news that directly affects our customers: Raven will lose access to the Google AdWords API very soon. We won’t speculate on the AdWords API access of other companies, but we know that is true for Raven and said so.

      We keep correspondence with Google and any of our data sources or partners private, just as our customers keep correspondence with their clients and partners private. As much as we might want to tell you more—we know how eager people in the Internet marketing industry are for every scrap of information—to reveal details of ongoing business dealings would be inappropriate. (Inappropriate means not suitable in the circumstances.) We simply won’t do that.

      We have the same respect for the privacy of our customers’ accounts, data and correspondence.

      Raven’s communication priority is to tell customers what matters to their businesses, namely, what’s changing, how the change affects them, what they can do now and what Raven is doing going forward.

      We will continue to communicate those things in the coming days and weeks as clearly as we can.

  3. Toby Mason

    I only saw this because of twitter. Why not post a system message in Raven Tools itself? Surely that’s the best way of ensuring active customers see this news.

    Can I also calrify something. Does this mean the AdWords Search Volume that shows in the Search Ranking Reports will also stop working unless an AdWords account is linked via Analytics?

    Many thanks

    • Brannan Atkinson

      Toby, we have plans for an alternate source of keyword search volume data. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use AdWords API data as long as it’s available in tools and reports. We hope that transition will be seamless. We will keep in touch.

      Connecting your AdWords and GA accounts only impacts AdWords reporting. It does not impact the avg. search volume data in Search Ranking Reports.

  4. Raven –
    First, I have to give a big-up to your customer relations team – they’re top notch. Everyone I’ve talked to anytime I send a support message and even this – everyone has been helpful and great.

    That said – this is a major bummer! Raven is a super-powerhouse of awesome.

    As a full service internet-marketing team, managing everything from paid search to SEO to social media, it is pretty darn unfortunate to lose the Paid Search category from Raven.

    Any recommended solutions for internet marketing teams moving forward?

    • Brannan Atkinson

      Thanks for the feedback about our CS team. They are great.

      Raven can still report about your AdWords campaigns. See the note above about alternate way to report AdWords data. We are losing the AdWords campaign management functionality but will stil have the SEO and social media tools you value. We hope to bring back that ads functionality at some point. How long that will take is too hard to predict.

  5. Glenn Crocker

    In the past I’ve gotten data change notification emails from Raven (“How to write better SEO content”, “Raven + Scribe = Better Content for SEO” recently), but did NOT get this notification about AdWords data. I’ve updated my account preferences so I’m subscribed to everything, but important data change notifications need to be sent more broadly than you sent this.

    My hope is that I can use Raven as my ONLY reporting tool for clients, and AdWords integration helped that. Please work hard on the AdWords->Analytics->Raven path so it’s as useful as possible!

  6. Stephen Bradley

    To those who are criticizing Raven’s communication, I believe you are badly mistaken. While I think it would have been a good idea to plaster the announcement on every page in the control panel, there has not been a lack of communication and I haven’t gotten the feeling that they are trying to pull one over on anyone. I’ve received emails, I have a notice on the affected pages and Raven’s customer service has been super responsive and answered every question I’ve had in a straight forward manner. I’m sure if Raven had been given a choice about this they would have politely declined having their API access removed, but I don’t think Google asked their opinion.

  7. Fruge Consulting

    I’m with Ryan, as a SEM consultant, Raven PPC reporting tool is 99% of the value I get from this service. Can you recommend other PPC reporting tools that cover the low end of the market? I love, love, love Raven and am so very bummed about this. In the midst of our busy season no less. 🙁

  8. For what it’s worth, I just read on SEOMoz that this is not Raven specific. The speculation is that this is being rolled out to all toolsets that use the Adwords API. So there’s nothing Raven can do – this is Evil Google trying to snuff out the competition and force its Adwords users to use their (Google’s) systems.

    • Brannan Atkinson

      We share your frustration, Carol. Raven didn’t have a lot of time to make this decision. As we explained above, we made the difficult choice to turn them off versus have them no longer work because of API access. Not an easy choice to make.

  9. Hmmm… fun times around transparency but I thought an option to scrape their entire database while you still have access and use that as a historical guide might work? I wonder how it may affect or increase the relevance of platforms like Wordstream

  10. Not Anonymous Brian Gomez

    Getting cutoff from Google is obviously out of your control but the way this news was handled was complete and total garbage.


    As an owner of an agency who gets’ 15-25 emails a day from various SEO vendors, I MIGHT read 5% of these emails. MIGHT. For an email to be sent out and nothing posted on the site itself is, to me, either an attempt to sweep some really bad news under the rug or a blatantly self important mentality on Raven’s behalf that an email from your CFO is going to standout in a see of emails. I don’t really care which of those it was, bottom line, this should have been plastered throughout the site. For me to learn of this issue from a client who’s asking why their report was empty is a joke.

    Same deal with this article (https://raven.zendesk.com/entries/21333889-google-adwords-availability-in-raven) which was ‘written’ by Jon but ‘posted’ by Nate. Just a joke.

    Again, a bad situation that was made worse by mishandling.

  11. One of the great things of having the Adwords data is that you can have the conversion data and the cost per conversions. Any way to do this with Adwords reports from GA in Raven?

  12. Hey all. I must say, the communication from Raven on this was excellent. We made the switch for our clients without too much trouble.

    However, we are finding that the new PDF reports for “Google Analytics: AdWords Campaign” and “Google Analytics: AdWords Summary” aren’t providing much value. For example, we currently have a non-ecommerce client with 9 campaigns and then several Ad Groups within each campaign. Ideally, we want to see the total clicks, average CPC and average CTR for each campaign (and even better, each Ad Group). We’d like this on one page for each campaign or better yet just one summary page. At present you can only enable one campaign and one metric per Raventools Adwords report page. So, essentially, if we want to track all three stats, we need to create 9 x 3 = 27+ new pages in the report. Ouch. And there is presently no CTR tracking in the metrics which means we can’t track the ads conversion from impressions to clicks unless we log into Adwords or Analytics.

    Don’t get me wrong, we love Raven and our clients like the monthly PDF reports. But, the Adwords reporting is pretty crucial as this is where a lot of online dollars are being spent presently and, as such, requires some pretty close monitoring and analysis.