iProspect Logo
before car

Optimal PPC Match Type Strategy

Every PPC marketer knows that keyword selection is crucial, but it’s the match type of those keywords that adds another layer of essential detail to our campaigns. This week let’s go through the optimal way to make your Ad Words match type strategy more balanced between volume and control, which in turn will help to make your campaigns more successful. PPC Match Type Strategy Guide First, let’s review what match types are available:

Exact Match

Your keyword will only display ads when users enter the exact keyword into the search engines. If the query contains any other terms, it will not trigger your exact match keyword. The obvious downside is that you are limiting the amount of impressions your ads will get but it will help cost and conversion rate. Exact = Lowest impressions/highest CTR.

Phrase Match

Phrase match type will show ads when the keyword phrase from your account is a part of the search query (all words, in the same order). Consider using this match type if you have a limited PPC budget, as fewer impressions will lead to a higher CTR and Quality Score, leading to less cost. Phrase = Lower impressions/higher CTR

Broad Match

Broad match allows search engines to display your ads for terms that are variations (they can be a close-ish variation) or plurals of the keywords in your account. With broad match you are casting a large net and you may/ may not get relevant traffic BUT you will get MORE traffic. The odds are that broad match keywords are less likely to convert. Broad = Greatest impressions/lowest CTR.

Modified Broad Match (+keyword)

To utilise this match type, type in the keyword with a + before the keywords you want to modify and then signify the match type in the Ad Words interface as “broad”. I think this match type is often underutilised. Personally, I use it a lot because it offers the exclusivity of the phrase match without limiting the search query to the specific order in which the keywords are listed.

Negative Match

This match type is the obvious way to cut down on irrelevant impressions. With negative match, you are basically telling search engines NOT to display your ad for searches containing that term. Try to have a solid negative keyword strategy in place to back up your keyword structure to help prevent from wasting budget on broad match “close variation” searches, but be careful of how you add them. If you notice a sudden downturn in impressions, it can be attributed to negative keywords blocking traffic. I suggest using phrase and exact match negative keywords based off of search data from Search Query Reports. Let’s now take a look at how to best use match types so that our keywords are not competing against each other and Google is not taking our money based off whatever keyword match type has the highest bid. I’ll talk you through my Ad Words account structure (optimal match type strategy by ad group) and to give you a better idea of how these ideas fit together. To make things a bit easier, I’ll put match types in bold. Because the goal is to have over 80% of our overall traffic accessing the account through our exact match keywords, we have to ensure that we "funnel" searches to the right keywords by using "Cross Negatives”. This involves adding all our exact match keywords as exact match negatives in all the ad groups which contain our broad and phrase keywords. This makes it impossible for searches that match our existing exact match keywords to access the account through more expensive broad and phrase terms. This ensures that while our broad match and phrase match keywords are harvesting new search terms to add to the account on exact match, our existing exact match keywords are snapping up the traffic at the cheapest price possible. With this strategy, I split out my match types into three separate ad groups. In addition to each of them I use negative keywords to ensure the correct match type is being triggered.
Ad group Match Type Positive KWs Negative KWs
Ad group broad car loans -”car loans”
-[car loans]
Ad group phrase “car loans” [car loans]
Ad group exact [car loans]
(Pro Tip: Always be sure to review your negative keywords list periodically. I would even recommend conducting weekly research based on your search query reports.) If I use the broad keyword car loans and I negative both “car loans” and [car loans] within that the ad group broad, my phrase and exact match keywords don’t compete against this ad group. The ads will be triggered for everything except the keyword car loans (auto loans etc.) and will never be triggered by the keyword car loans. For the ad group phrase, if the user searches for the exact match of car loans, it won’t trigger ads within that ad group, nor will it trigger an ad within ad group broad. It will only trigger in ad group exact. However, if someone types in Irish car loans, nothing will trigger in ad group broad because the phrase match “car loans” is a negative within ad group broad. Of course, the keyword Irish car loans won’t trigger any ads within ad group exact. Google will be forced to show the ad within the ad group phrase. So again, in this case also, KWs are not competing against each other. Finally, if the user searches the exact match car loans, then it will trigger only the ad group exact because it’s negative in both Broad and Phrase ad groups. Once you've achieved 80% access through exact match, it might be time to tighten up your farming tactics. Instead of using broad and phrase match keywords that split the traffic between themselves, we can replace both with Broad Match Modified, which occupies the middle ground between phrase and broad. BMM terms ensure your "buzz words" like "Car" or "Loans" appear in every search term you match to without the risk of irrelevancy you have with pure broad, and without the risk of losing traffic based on the exact order of the keywords in the search terms which you get with phrase. The overall effect of this strategy is that we get more control over the search queries. Of course, each way you organize your ad groups and match types has both pros and cons therefore when deciding how to do it, examine your goals, time and budget. I hope this post will help you to keep your account structure neat & tidy and to effectively use keywords to run a highly relevant PPC campaigns. Feel free to share your thoughts on the above!