Understanding Audience Keywords: ‘not set’ vs. ‘not provided’

One of the best ways to gauge if a publisher’s audience is right for your campaign is  viewing their audience keywords. These keywords indicate the search intent of the audience, letting you decide if that audience is right for your message.

However, one question about the keyword results that keeps coming up is: what does ‘not set’ and ‘not provided’ mean.

As you may be able to guess, these two results are not actual search terms but rather are placeholders.

Not set

The first term, ‘not set’, is the simpler of the two. This placeholder appears for traffic that does not arrive via a specific keyword. Generally, this means non-search traffic such as referrals from social media, emails, external links from other websites or another article from the same publisher

When looked at in isolation, ‘not set’ traffic can be useful as a measure of how much traffic a publisher is getting outside of search.

Not provided

The second term, ‘not provided’, is an altogether different prospect. It indicates that Google is not providing access to the data in order to protect the privacy of the searcher.

Google started doing this in 2011 by encrypting results from SSL searches (secure searches from users that are either logged in to Google Accounts or using the Firefox search bar). Google sees this as an important privacy measure, particularly in cases where searchers were using unsecured internet connections (like WiFi hotspots).

What this means is that you can’t view organic search data for logged-in users. As such, Presscast reports that this data is ‘not provided’ by Google.  

Trying to select the perfect article for your campaign? – Presscast Insight

Keyword provenance is a great way to understand how an article is ranking in Google. A lot of the ‘not provided’ traffic can be considered as variations of the keywords displayed in the report.

For example:

If the Displayed keyword was “guide content marketing”

Then the ‘not provided’ traffic keyword might be “beginner’s guide content marketing”

Just because the keywords aren’t visible, does not mean they aren’t valuable.

How I escaped the blogging monetization trap

“Can I make money through blogging?”

You’ll see this query appear repeatedly in threads across the internet as responders continue to miss-answer the question.

Look at Quora or Reddit and you’ll find hundred of similar stock answers: use Adsense, sell a product or try affiliate marketing. These common responses are given and everyone goes their separate ways.

Until the question pops up again. Rinse. Repeat.

This cycle doesn’t exist because the inquirers are stupid. It’s because their question was never answered. They didn’t ask “how to make money on the internet”, they asked “can I make money through blogging.

When you understand that the purpose of a blog is create content that the author enjoys producing, you realize that these common solutions either fail, or they degrade the quality of the content so much that they might as well fail.

Solution #1: Sell a Product/Course

What this solution essentially tells you to do is stop blogging. It wants you to divert attention away from writing and put it towards product development instead.

Solution #2: Affiliate Programs

This is an enormous topic that can (and will) be the topic of an article itself. But just know that affiliate programs are an adversarial process. Their interests are not aligned with yours. You forfeit integrity, creativity and editorial control for the price of pumpkin latte a week… if that.

For them to win you must lose.

Solution #3: Banner Ads

This is the only solution that answers the original query of how to make money with blogging… but it comes at a price. Banner ads corrupt the user experience for your audience and can lead to you losing a tenth of your traffic.

And that’s the good news.

In addition to the awful effects these ads can have on your blog, the average blogger won’t make more than $5 a month.

To answer the question of “can I make money through blogging”, I would say that it was difficult.

And I say was because I believe I can offer a better alternative.

Traditionally, your best bet at making money without turning your blog into the content equivalent of a puppy mill through low value banner ads, was to rely on the goodwill of your audience.

This included membership programs, paywalls or even asking for support through sites like Patreon.

What I suggest now is Presscast.io, the solution we developed to address this exact problem.

Bloggers that desire a revenue stream that respects their editorial line will finally have a consistent option.

Presscast allows advertisers to embed their text into your article for a price you set.

You retain final say. You can suggest edits and placement. And if the fit just doesn’t work. You can say no.

For the first time publishers:

  1. Can earn revenue for their content rather than their traffic.
  2. Make a living by allowing advertisers to contribute to their work rather than detract from it.
  3. Be rewarded for integrity and accountability rather than click bait and soulless content.

Before Presscast.io the answer to “can I make money through blogging” was a convoluted list of alternatives.

Now, the answer is yes.