Goodbye Phrase and Exact Keyword Match in Adwords

September 1, 2014 - ContentTransfer

Starting in September, Google will be applying close variant keyword matching to exact and phrase match keywords. Up until now, this has been the default setting for all campaigns but advertisers had the option to ‘opt-out’. In September, however, this option will no longer be available and Google will automatically include variants such as misspellings, singular/plural forms, acronyms, stemmings, abbreviations and accents.

Why are they doing this?

Put simply, people searching on Google spell things wrong, use abbreviations, use acronyms etc but still want to find what they are looking for. Removing exact and phrase match keywords means that close variants will still trigger the appropriate advertisement for the intended word(s). The aim is to lower cost per click and improve clickthrough rate.

What does this mean?

Firstly, you no longer need to build long lists of misspelled, abbreviated, plurals etc of your keywords. Now, you can just concentrate on adding negative keywords – or variants of those keywords – and cut costs.

Secondly, and closely related to the point above, this means that advertisers lose an amount of control. Some advertisers prefer to target specific variants, perhaps since PPC traffic with precise match types has been shown to improve ROI (although it does increase the complexity of campaign management).

Why does it matter?

If an advertiser wants to target one specific variant (and not have to try and make a list of all the possible variants) then they have quite a task on their hands. Companies might quite simply want to know that their budget is only going on their exact keyword. For example, a company selling towels is unlikely to want to target people searching for trowels.

Additionally, companies may see better results with the plural of a word, but Google may give preference to the singular version. So companies selling in bulk might be negatively affected.

What should you do?

If you specifically only want to target one variant, perhaps because certain variants do not do as well, then you will now have to do this manually with negative exact/phrases.  While this is inconvenient, it is still evidently possible to get rid of variations you do not want.

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