Google's AdWords Keyword Tool allows marketers to see which keywords to focus campaigns on, but it's going to be replaced soon by the Keyword Planner that will only show historical stats for exact matches.
Plan for Change
Ah Google, ready to retire yet another tried and true tool beloved by thousands. First Google Reader was killed off, and now the AdWords Keyword Tool is bidding farewell. When Google announced the Keyword Planner at the end of May, it said it would sunset the Keyword Tool in 60 days.
That means right around July 20, the Keyword Tool will be combined with the AdWords Traffic Estimator to become the the Keyword Planner. That's not a hard and fast date, however, but that's the general time frame. When keywords are typed into the Keyword Planner, the results will start showing up a bit differently than with the Keyword Tool.
Data columns appearing in the Keyword Tool will give way to new columns, so those that have been using AdWords for a long time might feel a bit lost at first. The local monthly searches and global monthly searches will be replaced with an average monthly searches column. This data will be specific to targeting settings (by region, for example), but global monthly searches can still be found by targeting all locations.
Why the Change?
Google is switching over to the Keyword Planner because it says the tool will help marketers research keywords, and more or less test drive campaigns by seeing traffic estimates. Researching keywords would be important for those starting new campaigns, or for those adding to existing campaigns. Most marketers apparently go with between 5 to 20 keywords per ad group, an AdWords support blog noted, so that's where the research would come in handy.
Other changes from the Keyword Tool to the Keyword Planner include removal of the ad share and search share columns. The Google Search Network column has been replaced by a network option within the targetting settings. Data for the entire search network can be found by selecting the Google and search partners targeting option.
Additionally, the local search trends column will disappear in the Keyword Planner, but search volume trends segmented by month can be found when the historical Keyword Planner statistics are downloaded.
Google has completely changed its image in the last three years (looking at you Google+), and AdWords obviously must change with this shift. As the price of AdWords goes up, and the return on those ads goes down, Google could be feeling the pressure to alter the system, and this could be one of the first steps.