It happened again yesterday. After months of wrestling with a particular campaign on Google Adwords that was getting lots of volume but marginal results, changing the Match Type I usually use made all the difference.
Adwords lets you chose which of three Match Types will determine when your ads are eligible to show:
1. Broad Match is Google’s default. Your ads or eligible to show when a search includes your search term or synonyms or misspellings, with the words in any order. It generally gives Google way too much leeway and can be very expensive.
2. Phrase Match means your ads are eligible to show when a search includes your keywords, with the words in the same order. Most of the time, it gives the best results.
3. Exact Match is just what it sounds like: your ads are eligible to show only for searches that include your precise search term, with the words in the same order, with no other words included. If you bid on climbing roses and someone searched on buy climbing roses, your ad wouldn’t show.
Most of the time, Exact Match is far too restrictive. Every now and then, it’s the key to profitability. That usually happens when the item being searched for is very popular, and there could be loads of different reasons why people are searching.
Yesterday’s case in point was a common perennial, but let’s just use hosta as an example. Ads for specific varieties worked well. So did ones for attributes (i.e., dwarf hosta). But bidding on hosta by itself brought in not only a lot of sales but a lot of extraneous and expensive traffic. People were looking for how to plant it, how to divide it, and where to buy it locally, among other things.
By carefully studying the specific searches people used, we were able to identify six search terms – including the term hosta all by itself – that were profitable only as Exact Match. That change cut our spending by more than half, but increased the ROI by 50%.
A tip: Google doesn’t make it easy for you to find exactly which search terms trigger your ads. To do so, click on the Keywords tab at the top of your Adwords page, then locate the Details tab to the right of the red +Keywords tab in the center of the page. Click on the down arrow in the Details tab, and then click on Search Terms: All. Voila! You’ll see all the detail for the specific searches that triggered your ads, which can provide a wealth of insight for improving your campaign’s performance.