[Exact] ≠ Exact; at least not in Google AdWords

April 25th, 2012 by Justin Miller

What is Google Changing Now?

With the upcoming changes to both the [Exact] and “Phrase” Keyword Match Types, Google is helping you reach a larger audience. The question is will it still be your target audience. If you read the official post AdWords Blog, the examples given seems like this change will be extremely helpful. However, some marketers do not agree. Whether these changes will be beneficial to you is yet to be seen, but you need to know what impacts these changes will have on your account(s).

How Match Types Work

First, understand that [Exact] and “Phrase” match types are designed to help you reach your target audience and only your target audience. For example:

As you can see, the changes to these match types include close variations of the keyword (i.e. checking – check.) In addition, [exact] and “phrase” match types will also include misspelling, abbreviations, and singular/plurals. According to Google, these changes are meant to help you increase your reach and visibility online. Will it really help?

The Impact of the Changing Match Types

The obvious impact is going to be more Impressions for your ads. The question is will these addition Impressions generate more Clicks for you. If you feel that the addition impressions caused by the change of the match types will bring in more Clicks, then great. You do not have to do anything. Google will automatically opt-in to these changes for you.

However, if you feel this extended reach and visibility is going to be outside your target audience, then the additional Impressions will not result in more Clicks. That means that your Click Thru Rate (CTR) will drop, which is a large aspect of your Quality Score. A drop in Quality Score would result in an increase in Cost per Click and potentially in overall Cost, or drop in Position and most like Clicks. Therefore, if you feel this update to match types is not going increase Clicks, then you are going to want to opt-out in the advance settings.

Beneficial or Harmful Changes?

To conclude, these changes to the [exact] and “phrase” match types on Google AdWords are neither beneficial nor harmful across the board. It is going to be a case-by-case situation. You are going to want to keep a close eye on your CTR over the next few weeks. Once the change is made, you will notice an increase in Impressions, but if your CTR drops, you will want to opt-out. Otherwise, you will soon see a drop in Quality Score and eventually a decrease in Position and Clicks, or an increase in Cost. Do you think these changes will help or hurt your PPC Campaigns? Let us know.

Justin Miller is the Search Manager for DaBrian Marketing. He does everything from research, account creation, campaign management, and reporting to improve clients’ Pay per Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With separate accreditation in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads, Justin has been helping companies increase awareness, website traffic, as well as conversions (sales, sign-up, registrations, etc.)

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