Expanded broad match increases importance of negatives

by Justin Hayward on March 30, 2010

Have you seen your ad appearing for a search/keyword you’re not bidding on?

If so you’ve been hit by the Expanded Broad Match bug.
Google will serve your ad against, for what they interpret as, a relevant search.

E.g. Your keyword – ‘toner’, Search query is ‘HP colour printer’ = Impression for your ad.

First port of call is to review the search query data in the Report Centre within AdWords to see what searches your ad is appearing for. This will help you on two fronts:
– Add relevant terms that you don’t have in your account.
– Add irrelevant terms as negatives.

The quick way to control how your ads are served is to move all terms away from broad match and use phrase or exact.

There is however a downside to this tactic. If the account is not built with sufficient depth then there is a possibility that you will see traffic and conversion volumes drop when moving away from broad match.

The most effective tactic is to optimise the negative terms used. This should be an ongoing process and be part of your optimisation cycle.

Utilising negative terms will give you control over your account performance and will not sacrifice the volume of relevant traffic. Tighter control should also improve a number of KPI’s:

– Increase in average CTR by ensuring relevant impressions only.
– Potential decrease in average CPC or improved average positions.

Monitoring the search queries on an ongoing basis will naturally help you move away from relying on broad match in the long term by increasing the keyword variations in your account. One step further is to monitor the search queries that are generating conversions via your tracking tool(s). Unfortunately the new Google Search Funnels does not provide converting search query data…..yet.

Adding long tail terms to the account and understanding the influence of each keyword will help you devise a clear bidding strategy.

Yes the term is relevant to your offering but is it converting? Is it part of the conversion funnel? Where in the conversion funnel is it? How many times is the term used in the funnel?
Answering these questions will give you great insight into user behaviour and in turn will help you devise the correct bidding strategy for different type of terms. I.e. Browser terms vs. Research terms vs. Converting terms.

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