When it comes to PPC advertising, a digital marketing agency will often talk about the same core best practices that exist every single year. For example, always keep your customer in mind, write compelling marketing content and always look to optimize for conversions over any other metric.
You’ve probably heard of some or all of the above best practices, right? We hope so!
While digital marketing trends may change, strong marketing strategies will always remain. But when it comes to digital advertising, sometimes having a complicated top-level strategy can make it difficult or even confusing to execute the ads themselves.
This is when it’s time to go back to the basics of paid advertising with Match Types.
1. What Are Match Types?
First of all, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Match Types (also known as “keyword matching options”), they are a way of controlling keyword variations to restrict or broaden the reach of your ads.
Match types are traditionally associated with Google Search Ads, where they are used to trigger ads in response to search terms.
There are four match types in total:
- Broad Match keywords are noted without any special symbol. They cast the broadest net in terms of search visibility, which may sometimes backfire by showing ads to a less than ideal audience.
- For example, an ad associated with a broad match keyword wwf wrestling panda shirt CAN also trigger on the search wwf panda nature pictures
- Broad Match Modifiers are keywords noted with a “+” sign to indicate that the proceeding term MUST exist in the search term.
- For example, and ad associated with a broad match modifier wwf +wrestling panda shirt would NOT trigger for wwf panda nature pictures because the latter does not include the search term +wrestling
- Phrase Match keywords are noted within quotation marks to signify that the ad will trigger variations of the phrase with additional surrounding words.
- For example, an ad associated with the phrase match “wwf wrestling” WILL trigger on searches for wwf wrestling clips and how to find wwf wrestling
- Exact Match keywords are noted within brackets to signify that the ad will ONLY trigger on close variations of the term.
- For example, an exact match phrase [wwf wrestlers] will only trigger on close, exact variations, such as wrestlers wwf.
Essentially, the above match types create a spectrum of how wide or narrow you’d like to cast your net to a prospective pool of customers.
Many business owners can get confused at this stage. You’ve already spent so much time building a persona and crafting a well-written story to cultivate your audience – wouldn’t you want to cast as wide a net as possible?
Surprisingly, casting a wide net is rarely the optimal strategy!
2. The Flaw With Match Types
Each match type has their own set of flaws – there is no one match type that is ideal for every situation.
Broad match and broad match modifier keywords tend to reach customers that are outside of your niche, and perhaps even outside of your industry. If your product or service shares any similar terms to any other search, there is a chance that your ads are shown to the wrong audience altogether.
How does Google differentiate between “baby shower” – a physical shower product for babies, “baby shower” – an event to celebrate a new baby, or “baby shower” – the 2011 horror movie with a 2-star rating on IMDB?
Broad Match search terms can be tricky since there are so many searches done on a daily basis, it’s almost impossible to guarantee that your search term has no overlap with an unrelated search.
The problem is, you can’t rely on Exact Match, either. If you’re trying to sell a rare “IBM 5100” computer, how do you know that your customer is going to be searching “IBM 5100 Computer”? What if they search “IBM 5100 machine” or “old IBM 5100 model” or “5100 Portable Computer” or even “Personal IBM Computer 5100”?
Exact match terms miss out on lots of potential sales – so you can’t rely on just exact match, either.
3. The Optimal Formula For Match Types
“Why not both?”
At our marketing agency, we use a portfolio of BOTH broad match modifier and exact match keywords in our PPC campaigns.
By running broad match modifier keywords, we broaden our pool of potential customers with minimal overlap due to smart modifiers. We then pay close attention to the search terms that actually trigger our ads – and see if they actually generate sales.
If a particular search term does generate a sale, we create an exact match ad for the search term and optimize heavily for the phrase in a dedicated exact match campaign.
4. Optimizing For Match Types
Structurally, creating a portfolio of exact match and broad match keywords requires a good understanding of how Google’s ad system works. There are several pitfalls that may occur if you aren’t familiar with Google Ads. For example, if you give a broad match keyword a higher bid than a similar exact match keyword, the exact match term will almost never trigger.
This means that, before any adjustments are made to an ad account, a proper review of the ad structure must be in place. At Cucumber Marketing, we create a document called an ad matrix to review the format of your ad campaigns, to ensure that the structure makes sense before we perform further optimizations.
And yes, there are any further optimizations to be done. Ads can make use of dynamic keyword insertion, ad extensions, audience lists and more. Keywords can be further narrowed down by adding negative keywords. Ad groups can be broken down to further segment ads and landing pages to a specific keyword for a higher quality score. The list of possible PPC optimizations is nearly endless!
The ongoing process of reviewing search terms, modifying keywords and creating Exact Match ads based on Broad Match insights is never-ending. This is why many businesses work with our marketing agency to ensure that their PPC accounts are always up-to-date.
Did this article strike a chord with what’s going on in your organization? Do give us a shout at 604.559.7509 and set up a discovery meeting. We would love to see if we can help.
Or, stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver⏤we always have chocolate!