Posts Tagged ‘exact match’

Improving PPC ROI – Tip #614

August 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay, perhaps there aren’t quite 614 tips, but if you ask around, you likely won’t be far short of it!

If you are using a commercial product to manage your PPC campaigns, such as Search Manager or Channel Advisor, you will have a lot of help available within the tool, but even if you are doing it all manually with Google Adwords, don’t despair.

One of the most overlooked pieces of advice that Google Adwords offers is the impression share report (buried under ‘Dimensions’ on the ‘Campaigns’ tab – you may have to make this tab visible in your settings). Impression share is essentially how often your ads have appeared as a percentage of all ads in the ‘market’ you are targeting. More pointedly, how often your ads show relative to your competitors. You will also see what percentage of ad impressions you have lost due to budgetary constraints (“Lost IS budget”), and impression share lost due to your ad rank (“Lost IS rank”). Lost impressions due to budget is fairly obvious.

The real gem of information here is not share percentage per se, or ads lost due to budget, it is share you can gain by making your search terms “exact match”. This will impact your “rank”, and help gain you those “Lost IS rank” impressions back.

Adwords offers three different match types, consider your keyword of “large red widgets”

  1. General Match – where your ad may show if keywords match any word in a search query (a search for ‘blue widgets’, or just ‘widgets’ will trigger your ad)
  2. Phrase Match – where your whole keyword must appear as you entered it, but it will also match if it is part of a longer query (‘very large red widgets’ will trigger your ad, but not ‘large widgets in red’)
  3. Exact Match – the query must match your keyword exactly, no extra words, no parts of it.

A good rule of thumb is have your single work keywords as general, two word keywords as phrase, and three or more words as exact match (although you will know best if a three word series will work in your industry for a phrase match). Don’t confuse this with long-tail keywords. I have seen many campaigns that have great long-tail keyword terms, but they were just thrown in as ‘general match’, and were producing tons of useless impressions, and clicks, costing money and reducing ROI!

Why will the impression share rise? Google uses “the relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query” as part of its formula for quality score. An exact match on your keyword term will, over time, improve how Google rates your ad – better than if those same terms were just broadly matched. A broad match is considered less relevant.

As a result of changing your match type, your keywords should generate fewer impressions, and you may see a small drop in clicks initially, but give it time, they will come back. What you are doing is making sure that your keywords are only showing to the right people, you are targeting them better, and eliminating wasted impressions – those that show to people who weren’t looking specifically for your product or service.

You should see your impression share steadily rise, and higher ad position, higher click-through rate (CTR), higher conversion rates and, consequently, better ROI. You may even see your CPC rates drop slightly, improving ROI even more.