Search Engine Journal

How to Use Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool for Predictive Keyword Research

Want to stay ahead of the curve?

That’s where Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool comes in.

Here’s a rundown of this tool and how to use it to your advantage.

Plus, I’ll cover how to integrate the Keyword Forecast tool into a holistic paid media and SEO mix.

What Is the Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool?

It’s one thing to know what’s trending now.

That’s a valuable asset for any digital marketer.

But what about what’s going to be trending tomorrow, or farther into the future?

How do you even predict that?

The Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool does just that.

It’s an awesome option for anyone looking to up their SEM and SEO game by narrowing down future potential for any keywords or groups of keywords.

According to Google, they update their forecasts on a daily basis, with data from up to 10 days past.

This data includes market changes that occurred throughout this time.


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It also takes seasonality into consideration, so you’re not confused by natural market fluctuations.

In short, Google Ads Keyword Forecast is a pretty cool tool.

How (& Why) to Use the Forecast Tool

The forecast tool is a multifaceted part of Google Ads, and it just goes to show how useful the Ads platform is as a whole.

It goes well beyond today’s data and delivers insights for the near future.

So what does this forecast tell you?

The forecast tool will help you figure out how your keywords will perform in optimal settings.

You can:

  • Change your maximum cost per click (CPC) depending on your budget.
  • View a chart of your estimated performance.
  • See projections for individual keywords.
  • View how these estimates change when you adjust your max CPC.

Your forecast has a date range, and you can change the time frame to see how it affects your forecast.

There are two ways to see forecasts on Google Ads, so let’s break the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool down for you, step by step.


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How to Use It for Forecasting

Within the Google Ads Keyword Planner, you’ll find something called a forecast.

Instead of clicking Discover new keywords, you’ll click Get search volume and forecasts.

google ads forecasting

Once you’re here, you can enter an individual keyword or a group of keywords that are separated by commas or line breaks.

You can also upload a spreadsheet file to quickly transport keywords into the forecasting tool (as any SEO or SEM professional ought to know, there’s nothing wrong with a good shortcut!).

Once you enter your keywords and click Get Started, you’ll come across a page with a few tabs.

forecasts google ads

The three tabs are Forecasts, Negative Keywords, and Historical Metrics.

For the forecasting side of things, you’ll obviously want to stay under the first tab.

Based on the keywords that you entered, you’ll see a selection of forecast data.

Automatically, Google Ads tells you:


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  • Clicks per day if the keyword triggers your ad.
  • Impressions.
  • Cost or your average projected spend per day for a particular keyword.
  • Click-through rate (CTR).
  • Average CPC, or the average amount you may pay for an ad click.

You can also add your own conversion metrics to tailor your forecasts to your brand’s unique marketing plan.

This is an important trick for anyone who wants a nuanced forecast that’s perfectly fit for them.

To do this, just click Add conversion metrics:

add conversion metrics in google ads

In the end, you’ll be left with a pretty nifty graph and data chart that showcases future predictions (or forecasts) for your selected keywords.


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This helps you determine the best plan of action for campaigns to come, and even lets you know if you should adjust existing campaigns based on consumer queries and behavior.

Keep in mind that the numbers you see associated with each metric is what you’re likely to achieve for your keywords or group of keywords based on your ad spend.

These numbers will change if your budget changes, proving just how holistic Google’s approach really is.

However, Google makes it very clear that spending more doesn’t necessarily equate to better conversions.

When you’re done, take one or all of these steps:

  • Download your forecast. To do this, select the download button on the page.
  • Share your keyword plan with team members. You can do this by clicking the three dots beside your plan and edit the sharing settings (under Edit sharing).
  • Think about how this fits into your paid media, SEO, and content marketing roadmap.

Is This the Only Way to See Forecasts On Google Ads?

Short answer: No, it’s not!

Long answer: There’s another way, and you can find it by clicking Discover new keywords instead of Get search volume and forecasts at the start.


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When you use Discover new keywords, you can:

  • Discover new ideas for keywords.
  • Edit an existing list of keywords based on what the data shows.

But in addition to these, you can also see a performance forecast once keywords are on your plan.

As an optional measure, you can create a new campaign based on positive forecasts.

Or, you can use them to beef up your existing campaigns.

If you want to add keywords to your plan from Discover new keywords so you can forecast their performance, you can follow a few simple steps:

  • Tick the box next to each keyword you want to add. Then click the dropdown option Add to plan.
  • Choose either Add to plan or Add to existing campaign.
  • Click the dropdown option Adding to [name of ad group]. Select a match type using the dropdown option Broad match.
  • Select Add keywords, and voila!


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How to See Keyword Trends in Google Ads

The best way to see keyword trends in Google Ads is via the historical metrics section.

historical metrics in google ads

Click the Historical Metrics tab to view:

  • Average monthly searches.
  • Competition (low, medium, or high).
  • Ad impression share.
  • Top of page bid (low and high ranges).

Combine this historical data with forecasted projections from your Google Ads account and you’ll have a comprehensive picture of keywords for your industry!

Note: While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool accounts for things like bid, budget, and seasonality, historical data doesn’t. Just keep this in mind during your comparisons.


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How Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool Fits in with the Overall Paid Media Mix

Paid media is best served holistically.

While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool ought to be a well-used component in your marketing repertoire, it’s not your only friend.

Fuse it with other tools, like:

Google Trends

Search traffic by any given term or company.

You can compare terms and entities, plus visualize data by location, related topics, and breakout terms.

Use Google Trends to answer the question: What are some recent changes in the landscape?

google trends

Google Benchmark Report

This report lives inside Google Analytics.


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The Benchmark Report takes a look at your individual traffic and compares it to the industry benchmark.

Keep in mind this benchmark comes from the overall industry, not necessarily a particular niche within that sector.

You’ll see how you stack up against national players in the game.

The most useful part of this report for you is the comparison between your own historical and current data – so you can see just how far you’ve come.

This is a recent development from Google.

Using the power of Google Trends, it imports relevant data into your Google Ads account.

With that data in hand, you can see breakout terms as well as their forecasted growth.

It’s a super-powerful addition that has the potential to improve business and marketing planning by a landslide.

If there were ever a way to slide into a new category before the competition, this is it.

SEMrush Data

Learn today’s keyword search volume and compare it on a monthly basis for the last six months.


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You’ll know what the search volume used to look like and use that data to determine what keywords you should be focusing on now and in the future.

Their keyword planner also offers forecasts, so that’s another tool you can add to your toolbox.

Google Intelligence Events

Using artificial intelligence, Google Intelligence Events tells you if there’s a marked change (either up or down) in your site traffic.

You can even select your own events to automate tailored insight.

A cohesive combination of tools will help you boost your business like the pro you are.

Keep in mind these are just a handful of tools — you’ll find plenty more to back you up along the way.

The Most Successful Business Look to the Future

The Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool helps businesses look ahead, which ultimately helps them stay on the cutting edge of their industry.

Using historical and current data to determine your paid media strategy’s future potential is key.


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Adjust your business plan to line up with the metrics in front of you and you’ll set the bar for your sector’s competition – no ifs, and, or buts about it.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, October 2020

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