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
Finally Google is doing something right! You can really tell what products make them the biggest profits by how they handle the roll outs. Opting out was a must to implement on their part, as neglecting that feature would have caused a great deal of up-roar. Great post as always.
PPC Ian says
Thanks so much, Collabo, very much appreciate. I am truly thankful Google offers the ability to opt out. 🙂
All the best,
Paid Search Management says
Awesome article Ian!
To opt out, or not to opt out. That is the question!
I can definitely see where it could be great for someone to stay opted in or out. I agree and think it’s awesome they are giving advertisers more opportunity to capitalize on areas of their accounts. Whether it’s cutting the misspellings that only result in high cost, high CPAs and/or no conversions, or optimizing a campaign specifically for valuable misspells to get more conversions (if it make sense to do so). Either way, it needs to be controlled.
Just about the best way to know if one should opt out or not is be to run a Search Query Report to see how misspells are affecting the campaign – then you will be able to make some solid decisions and build a strategy based on the data 🙂