New Keyword Planner & Old Keyword Tool – Which One is Better?


Most of you might already know that Google is fading out the much beloved (?) Keyword Tool. In fact, when you click on Keyword Tool from AdWords interface, you will be directed to Google’s new Keyword Planner. At the moment, users still have the option to go back to the old Keyword Tool by following the link Google provides.

 go back

After clicking on the Go back link, users will be directed to the Keyword Tool.

 keyword tool

There are a lot of buzz online since the switch was made and the reviews are mixed. Out of the negative reactions I see on Twitter, most of them dislike the new Keyword Planner because it is not as intuitive as the previous tool.

This I have to agree. The first time I tried the new Keyword Planner I was a little lost. Seemed like I had to do a few extra steps to get the result I wanted, unlike the previous tool where everything is in one place. But just like any new inventions, there is always a learning curve and eventually people will just get used to the new ways of doing things.

User-friendliness aside, what’s important here is whether there are differences in performance between the two tools. In this case, the questions is are there any difference in the data they provide. To find out, I took the impression data of an exact match keyword from one of the accounts I’m managing and compared it with the estimated traffic from both tools.

**the keyword was running in Google search, search partner network and on all devices (before enhanced campaign).

Keyword Planner (Google Search Only)

 bar stools kwp google

Keyword Planner (Google and Search Partners)

 bar stools kwp sp

When getting a estimate from Keyword Planner, I used a very high bid to ensure that the estimate I was getting was the daily maximum (no lost impression due to ranking).

Keyword Tool (Desktops and Laptops)

 bar stools kwt dt

Keyword Tool (Mobiles with full browser)

 bar stools kwt mb


Everything in Table Form

table 1

Before we start, note that Keyword Tool does not have the option to include Search partners data and Keyword Planner does not have the ability to exclude different types of devices.

From the table, we can see that there isn’t too much of a difference between Keyword Tool’s and Keyword Planner’s monthly estimate which are 5,120 and 6,000 respectively. Note that Keyword Planner only provides daily estimates therefore I multiplied the daily estimate by thirty to get the monthly estimate.

What’s interesting here is that the combined impression from all devices estimated by the Keyword Tool (5,120) was actually very close to the actually Google only impression (5,137) I was getting for that particular month. Keyword Planner’s estimate (6,000) on the other hand is over the actually impression by a few hundreds, but not too far off either.

Lastly, the impression estimated by Keyword Planner including search partners (47,143) is roughly 15% less than the actually impression I received. The percentage difference between Keyword Planner’s estimates and actually impression with and without search partners are roughly the same.

This is no way meant to be an accurate study, instead it’s just a quick comparison between the two tools. In the end, the results from both tools are close enough to the actual data. Keyword Tools seem to be doing better from this tiny (and I mean TINY) sample, but it doesn’t have the capability to include search partners traffic estimates.

Keyword Planner on the other hand can be off by +/- 15% (again, in this tiny sample), and it’s not capable of excluding mobile traffics; but it does allow users to include search partner traffic. Since all the campaigns should’ve been upgraded to enhanced right now, the inability to exclude mobile traffic is not too big of a deal anymore, plus the added ability to target sub regions is a big improvement over the old keyword tool.

sub regions



In my opinion, Keyword Planner overall is a better estimation tool than the old Keyword Tool. Do I miss the user-friendliness of the old tool? Yes. But the added capability in the new tool definitely make up for it.



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Steve worked for Pitstop Media Inc as a Pay per Click (PPC) specialist, helping clients maximize the value of their PPC campaigns. He is also a musician and a part-time sound designer for TV/film.


4 Responses to “New Keyword Planner & Old Keyword Tool – Which One is Better?”

  1. Adam Warner said:

    Aug 30, 13 at 2:54 am

    I would prefer the old one which is very easy to use and user friendly.

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  2. Traian Neacsu said:

    Aug 30, 13 at 8:15 am

    The same for me. I found the new layout a bit confusing and not so easy to use. Probably after some time I’ll get used to it…

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  3. Steve said:

    Aug 30, 13 at 10:36 am

    I think the biggest problem now is users don’t know where exactly they should input their search queries.

    General guideline:
    1. To get keyword ideas, use “Search for keyword and ad group ideas”
    2. To get specific keyword data, use “Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform”

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  4. Domain Parking – What It Is and How You Can Make Money Out of It? said:

    Nov 25, 13 at 12:01 pm

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