You know your agency is off to confuse you when they start speaking about match type strategies. But is it really that important to understand the subtle differences between Google’s and Bing’s “exact match” or Yahoo’s “advanced match” and Google’s “broad match”?
No doubt match types are important and making sure the correct combination is used within any PPC account is a useful optimization technique. Account managers who want to keep a paid search account cost effective and successful, need to think about match types and how to use each of them to the best effect.
However, before you start delving into the detail of Google’s broad match modified and Yahoo’s advanced match or try to understand the difference between phrase and exact match, take a look at the scenarios below. According to which “stage” your account is in, there will be simple strategies that can be applied to make the account a success.
You’re new to paid search and the products or services you’re offering are often referred to with different names by users
Go for broad match initially. Let users tell you what they search for when they’re looking for your product offering and adapt your keyword list to the way users search.
Initially this will mean paying more for your clicks than you will eventually and over time. However, this technique gives you the possibility of “exploring” the search space, understanding what users search for and respond to their needs.
Ask your account manager to regularly run reports to compare your keywords with actual search queries. Over time, more terms on exact match can be added and broad match terms phased out, which will make for cheaper clicks in the long run.
Your paid search traffic is pretty consistent and stable, but you think there’s “more out there”
Around 25% of searches each month are “new”, have never been see. So, yes, there’s probably more to be had “out there”.
Try experimenting with broad match on your core terms. Take your top ten traffic (and conversion) drivers and get them on broad match. Don’t forget to cap budgets to ensure control over spend on these terms that are geared to pick up large amounts of traffic.
It’s good practice to set bids for your exact matches slightly higher than the ones for your broad matches, as this will keep cost per click under control as well.
After a while it will be possible to compare real search terms with the keyword list and “discover” further traffic driving variations to core terms.
Your CPA is too high
One of the reasons for this might be an excessive use of broad match. Along with qualified traffic, broad match will pick up less qualified traffic. The first step to take is once again to compare search queries with keyword lists to ensure terms that are not relevant are excluded (negative match). In addition over time broad match should be phased out and substituted by a greater amount of keyword variations on exact match.
You’re launching a new product or service or a different offering
Try broad match for your new keyword set.
Rather than spending a lot of time trying to think of every possible variation of search terms users might be thinking of, time will be much better spent building out the account based on real searches over time.
Cap the budget to ensure control over spend for your newly added terms. Progressively add more terms to the account according to real search traffic and queries.
Match types… sorted!