Tips for Effective Use of Keyword Match Types in Google AdWords

  |  August 1, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Consider these factors to manage cost and drive conversions for your search campaigns.

Call me nerdy, I love keyword match types in Google AdWords.

After working in the search industry for a while, I start seeing a pattern of how AdWords advertisers handle keyword match types in Google AdWords. Many advertisers come to us after experiencing some problems with their search campaigns. Their common questions are:

1. How come my daily budget runs out so fast?

2. How come I keep spending and adding more and more keywords but I still fail to see the conversion volume that I want?

3. How come the keyword average CPC keeps getting higher and higher?

The knee-jerk reaction many advertisers do is either dramatically cut down their keyword list by pausing all generic keywords or change all keyword match types to exact or phrase match. However, once you restrict your keyword match type to exact or phrase match, you will quickly see a dramatic decline in your traffic, as well as conversion volume. You are literally losing many opportunities each day by simply hoping that your prospective customers will use the exact keyword phrase that you buy in search, without any single variation.

Baris Gultenkin, Google's group product manager for AdWords, mentioned at SMX East in New York last year that 55 percent of search queries contain 3+ words, 70 percent have no exact match, and 20 percent never seen before in past 90 days. You can see that if you solely rely on exact match of your keywords, you will be losing a great deal of opportunities to drive conversions and learn more about how people search.

Obviously, no seasoned search practitioners will run all keywords as broad match without doing any ongoing optimisation work. To help control the CPC, many practitioners would run the same keywords across all four match types, broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match. However, your keyword numbers will balloon up quickly if you are running a large-scale exhaustive campaign with thousands and thousands of keywords.

Here are some quick tips that you can use broad match to learn more about your prospective customers but also control your campaign cost to drive the volume of conversions that you desire.

A. Study Your Search Query Report

If you decide to start running your Google AdWords campaign using only broad match, you should run the search query report available in your Google AdWords account at least once a week. In the report, you will see all the keyword search phrases that have triggered your ads. You should export the report from AdWords and start drilling down to identify which phrases are irrelevant to your campaign or the keyword phrases that cost a lot but fail to drive any conversions. On the other hand, you should also start identifying the keyword phrases from the search query report that are cost effective in driving conversions to your campaign.

B. Add Negative Keywords

Many people lose sight of the need to build up their negative keyword list when they run a search campaign. It is easy to lose sight of the importance of your negative keyword list, which, according to Google, is "a core component of a successful keyword list. Adding a negative keyword to your ad group or campaign means that your ads won't show for searches containing that term. By filtering out unwanted impressions, negative keywords can help you reach the most appropriate prospects, reduce your cost-per-click (CPC), and increase your ROI." Usually, people's focus is on expanding the keyword list, by developing more long-tail keywords based on the ones that have been driving conversions.

Therefore, in addition to the negative keywords that you add to your campaign at the beginning, you should continue to build on your negative keyword list by adding the irrelevant phrases that you identified in Step A above.

C. Refine Keyword Match Types

Solely relying on your running broad match is not a solution since the potential budget required to collect all the search query information can be quite substantial, especially if you have a large keyword set. After running your campaign using broad match for a month or so, you should start thinking about refining the match type of your keywords. You can either opt in to try running the same keyword on various match types and pause the ones that are least effective or start changing your keyword match type from broad to the more restrictive match types.

D. Restructure Your Ad Groups

Once you identify the valuable keyword phrases from the search query report, you should think about how to group them. Should you simply assign the keywords to the existing ad groups or create new ad groups for them? As we all know, creating tight ad groups will help you drive the best results, allow you to manage your campaign easily, run accurate ad copy and landing page testing, and improve your quality score.

Keyword match type in your Google AdWords campaign is only one of the many factors that can help improve your campaign performance. Your account, campaign, ad group structures, landing page, ad copies, bid price, quality score are some of the other factors that can play a role in determining the success of your search campaign. Your search campaign can be as complicated as any high school calculus problem.

Learn to love the beauty of different keyword match types in your Google AdWords campaigns today!

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Antony Yiu

Previously serving as the Managing Director for iProspect Hong Kong and Key Clients, iProspect Asia Pacific, Antony's search experience includes Google and Internet start-ups in the U.S. His experience spans a variety of functions including search engine marketing and optimization, digital media buying and planning, email campaign management, and market research in both academic and commercial settings. Antony began his digital career while working for Google in its Mountain View headquarters, before moving to a number of startups including oDesk and AdBrite. Antony has a wealth of experience working with multinational companies in finance, travel and hospitality, cosmetics, B2B, consumer electronics, and luxury fashion clients throughout his career. He’s recognized as a leading expert in the field of search and is frequently quoted in the media regarding digital and search engine development in Asia Pacific. Antony is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences around the region. Connect with Antony on Google+ or email yiu.antony@gmail.com.

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