Exact and Phrase Match Changing On AdWords

May. 18

Google recently announced that they are Improving Exact and Phrase Match on Google AdWords. This is a really important change that’s happening right now (mid May). If you’re advertising on Google AdWords, today’s post is going to be super important for you.

So what’s Google doing? Basically, they are expanding the reach of exact and phrase. In addition to their classical definitions, both exact and phrase will now match to close variations (such as plurals and misspellings). An example: Let’s say you’re buying [mortgage]. It could now match to [mortgages] or even [mmortgage].

For advertisers who are smaller and have fewer overall keywords in their accounts, this could actually help. You’ll automatically match to more keywords (which should perform more-or-less similar since the variations are really close). You’re going to get more traffic (and hopefully conversions)! However, if you have a larger account with all the variations, this change could create some mapping and bidding issues. Why? When you’re large, it’s all about control. While a small advertiser may just have the word [mortgage] in their account, the large advertiser may already have [mortgage], [mortgages], and [mmortgage]. Moreover, the really savvy advertiser will have these split into separate adgroups with custom ads (and will have all three variations bid at different levels depending on their performance). With Google’s change, you don’t know which one will get triggered and you may therefore potentially deliver the wrong ad to the user. Moreover, you may overpay on some variations if you have lower bids set for them.

However, don’t worry! Right now, you can go into your advanced campaign settings and opt out if you’d like. My advice: Whether you are a smaller advertiser or larger, I recommend testing selectively. You’ll want to opt out for most campaigns, but opt in a few test campaigns. Then, you’ll want to test and see how the new exact and phrase matching do in your test campaigns as compared to the controls.

Also, keep in mind that the new matching will not affect quality score. Quality score is only calculated on Google.com for the exact query you are buying. That is good news! The net effect: I think this is a good change Google is making and I’m thrilled they give the advertiser the control to opt out if they’d like.

Image of Match Box © iStockPhoto – janka3147

PPC Match Type Strategies

Apr. 27

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a deep dive into tactical campaign management strategies. As such, I wanted to focus on some low level tips today that will directly impact your campaigns. Specifically, I’m going to focus on Google AdWords match types and how you can leverage broad, phrase, and exact match to their fullest potential.

Tip 1: Always Start With Exact Match For Added Control

Dart Board

If you watched my recent PPC Ian video about launching new AdWords accounts, you already have a preview of my first tip today. It’s really simple: Always start with exact match, period. Exact match gives you the most control out of all match types. Exact match has the highest revenue per visitor out of all match types. Exact match is straight-forward and simple.

After starting out with exact match, you’ll have a great understanding of which keywords work and which don’t. In the cases where the keywords don’t work, you will have minimized your losses because you started with the most controlled match type. Now, it’s time to expand to phrase and later broad. As an ideal structure, I always like to see the largest number of keywords on exact, fewer on phrase, and even fewer on broad. Also, I’m a huge fan of separating the different match types into separate adgroups. Sure, this creates more adgroups, but you’ll see later that it offers even greater control for a niche strategy leveraging negative words.

While this tip may seem very basic, it’s amazing how rarely it is followed. Time and time again, I have experienced AdWords accounts over-weighted in broad match. Oftentimes, accounts are exclusively focused on broad match with very few exact match keywords. I can’t underscore it enough: The healthiest AdWords accounts are over-weighted on exact match.

Tip 2: Leverage Broad Match For Keyword Generation

I really like tip 2 because it ties into tip 1 very nicely. Once you have established your baseline of exact match keywords, it’s time to start experimenting with phrase and broad. I especially like deploying phrase and broad match variations of my top tier exact match keywords. Not only do they offer great volume expansion opportunities, but they also offer amazing keyword generation opportunities! You heard that right: I leverage phrase and broad match to generate more exact match keywords. The beauty of this tip is it keeps feeding back into tip 1 (over-weighting in exact match). As my phrase and broad match variations start generating some serious traffic, I’ll run a search query report. Those search queries that drove conversions (and are missing from my exact match keyword set) are immediately deployed as brand new exact match keywords. Why deploy them on exact? Simple: Exact match offers the greatest control in terms of traffic quality and also bidding.

Of course, it’s very important to not go overboard here. Search engine accounts need to remain manageable so it’s a judgment call whether to let phrase and broad match take care of a certain query or to deploy the query as a new exact match keyword in your account. If a query has driven a conversion, it’s important to deploy it in my opinion.

Another important point: 20 to 25 percent of Google queries are new. Because of this very fact, it’s important to have good phrase and broad match coverage. Moreover, it’s important to go far enough down the tail on phrase and broad match to help the algorithm match to all of these possible new queries. My point: Remember to keep things balanced and invest time building out phrase and broad match as well so you definitely capture those 20 to 25 percent of new, unique queries.

Tip 3: Leverage Negative Match Types To Improve Bidding Accuracy

I’d like to close out with my most advanced match type strategy. Remember under tip 1 when I said that I like to separate the different match types into different adgroups? That all comes to play with my final strategy of creating added bidding efficiencies with savvy match type execution. It’s really simple: Once I’ve separated the three match types into different adgroups, I like to leverage negative match types so the phrase and broad match versions get none of the exact match traffic and the broad match version gets none of the phrase match traffic.

Let me explain this through an example. Let’s say we deploy three keywords in three separate adgroups: [mortgage], "mortgage", and mortgage. Let’s say we have no negative words. Let’s even say that the exact match version is bid the highest, the phrase match in the middle, and the broad match the lowest. (Side note: This should usually be the strategy.) No matter what, the phrase and broad match variations will always get some amount of exact match traffic. Moreover, the broad version will get some amount of phrase match traffic. If the user types in the exact match [mortgage], it will sometimes get mapped to "mortgage" or mortgage. Why? Google likes to test.

We know that exact match offers the best quality traffic. Pay per click is all about optimization. Now, if some of that really high quality traffic is getting attributed to the other match types, we are probably over-valuing phrase and broad and under-valuing exact. What’s my solution? Easy: I’ll add [mortgage] as a negative keyword to both the phrase and broad adgroups. I’ll add "mortgage" as a negative to the broad adgroup. That way, my traffic is always perfectly segmented by match type and I’ll bid as effectively as possible. Another option: Place your exact, phrase, and broad keywords in separate campaigns. That way, you can also use campaign level negatives if you’re not fond of adgroup level negatives. Personally, I like to place negatives on the campaign level that are just plain bad keywords. I like to place negatives under this strategy on the adgroup level. These are two unique types of negative keyword strategies and it’s easier to keep them straight if I have them stored in different places.

Remember, good data is the foundation of a solid biding strategy. Leverage this structure and match type trick to your advantage and you’ll run circles around the competition!

Image of Dart Board © iStockPhoto – adventtr