Google Ads can a bit of complex beast for those who are unfamiliar with the platform and its features.
Like an amateur playing Blackjack, Google Ads can be a serious money pit for any business who just throws money down because they know their competitors are or feel they should.
The purpose of this piece is to look at one of the most common and costly mistakes which thousands of businesses across the world are making with their ads to make sure your Google Ad strategy is more like card counting than hoping for the best.
What Are the Different Google Ads Targeting Types?
This targeting type does what it says on the tin; Broad Matches will show broad results.
A Broad Match Is a keyword setting that allows your ad to appear in the search results when someone searches for the specific keyword you enter or a broad variation of it. An example could be “hats” (your keyword) and “baseball cap” (a variation).
Broad Match keywords will match to search terms that are misspellings, synonyms, related searches and whatever AdWords considers to be relevant variations of your keyword.
This means that your keywords don’t have to be in the search term anywhere and your ad can still be shown.
For example, if you use Broad Match on the keyword “women’s hats”, your ad might show when a user searches for “men’s hats”, “women’s accessories” or “fedoras”.
So, not the most refined way to setup your Google Ads campaigns, then.
Broad Match Modified
Broad Match Modified keywords are slightly more targeted.
Broach Match Modified keywords work by adding a ‘+’ to the specific word in your phrase that you want to lock in place.
Sticking with the gambling theme, these are a bit like Holding on a slots machine to lock one of the cherries in place for your next spin.
When you lock a word in place, you are telling Google that you only want your ad to show when that word appears in the search query.
The full query can be in any order, but that one word needs to exist in it somewhere.
To use the example from earlier, if you use a Broad Match Modifier on the keyword.
“+Women’s hats”, Google can show your ad when a user searches for “women’s fedoras”, “hats for women” or “women’s clothing”, but will not show your ad when a user searches for “men’s hats”.
Going even more targeted, Exact Match keywords only trigger ads to appear when the exact keyword phrase you entered is searched.
That said, searches of the same meaning will still show.
For example, if you use Exact Match on the keyword “red shoes” your ad will show when someone searches for “red shoes”, “claret shoes” or “red boots” for example.
This is where your ad will only appear when a user searches for your exact keyword phrase, in the exact order you entered, but possibly with some additional words at the beginning or end of the query (we’re pretty sure Google got Exact and Phrase match mixed up but hey ho).
If you used “women’s hats” in phrase match, your ads are eligible to show for users searching “red women’s hats”, “women’s hats for weddings” or “where to buy women’s hats”.
This narrows down the search terms and makes the audience very specific.
Why You’re Losing Leads in Google Ads
For most SMEs, the key to advertising actually working is lead generation. For bigger businesses like Coca-Cola, PPC campaigns are run for other reasons like brand awareness.
But SMEs just want to drive more sales. And if you never get any leads off the back of your Google Ads, ROI is non-existent and the whole exercise can be deemed a bit pointless.
This is what can happen when your keywords are set to Broad Match. When using this keyword type your business often tends to spend far too much money on advertising, even though your ad is very rarely seen.
Even if and when it does show in a search, the traffic is often irrelevant to your business.
However, the major problem is that many business owners and marketers struggle to identify this as the problem.
In short: Broad Match is far too vague to get any real, closely related leads. So when analysing how your ad is progressing, you might see that your ad is getting a lot of engagement and interaction but probably 90% of the users who have interacted with your ad have no relevance at all and are actually looking for something completely different.
All in all, business owners will often find themselves throwing money down the drain and not getting the high-quality leads that businesses need in order to grow.
Using Broad Match Strategically
From reading this, you might think our opinion of Broad Match is that it’s a bit crap.
It does, however, have its uses and we do often use the ad type in campaigns for a strategic advantage.
Right at the start of a campaign during the testing period, Broad Match allows us to identify keywords that we may not have thought of by reviewing search terms.
The Broad Match tool helps us to cast the net wider with words and phrases that may not have been previously considered.
Once we have these, we can then target them with other, more targeted keyword types such as Phrase Match or Exact match.
The Positives of Broad Match
Generate a lot of clicks through to your website.
Allow you to find keywords you might not have thought of.
Spend less time building a keyword list.
The Negatives of Broad Match
Traffic broad and may be irrelevant.
Usually more competition as your the terms you’ve searched for are broad, meaning potentially higher-than-average costs.
So should I Scrap Broad Match Altogether?
It really depends on how well you feel you know the keywords people will be searching for you, as well as how broad your product is.
If, as per our example, you’re selling shoes, more targeted keywords will be needed. If, however, you’re selling something really specific that probably can’t get confused for anything else, you’ll probably be alright.
If you’re just looking for a lot of traffic, then Broad Match is perfect as it lets you reach the widest audience. However, this can result in a lot of irrelevant traffic as your ad will appear in anything slightly related to your ad.
Trial Broad Match for a period between 2 and 4 weeks at the start of your campaign.
This data will provide you with a variation of keywords that you can use for a more targeted campaign and reduce the amount of wasted ad spend.
Then use this extra insight to get more targeted with your keywords further down the line in order to get more relevant traffic to your site.
This will allow you to get the attention of more key decision makers in your target verticals and - so long as your website is setup right - generate more leads than ever before.
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