A little delayed in getting this posted so we could get all of your questions answered!
This week’s chat featured guest Ginny Marvin, from Google Ads, and the topic was “Testing Today’s Broad Match in Google Ads.”
We covered A LOT of ground, including questions for Ginny, which she answers in this post as well.
Q1: Are you currently running any campaigns in Google Ads that are utilizing broad match? Are you exclusively using broad match? Are you using it with smart bidding?
Q2: If you are not currently using or testing broad match in Google Ads, why are you not using it?
Q3: What strategies have you found that work well when using or testing broad match in Google Ads?
Q4: If you’re using or testing broad match in Google Ads, what have your biggest challenges or frustrations been?
Q5: What questions do you have for @adsliaison about using or testing broad match in Google Ads in 2023?
Read the full chat recap here.
Listen to the podcast recap here.
Audio chat happening at 12:00 PM EST on April 6th. It will be recorded, so this link will also take you to the recording:
Resources & Links
Unlocking the Power of Search (Google Ads PDF)
There was a request about what Brad Geddes has written about match types. This post is titled “How to Steer the Google Ads Machine with Negative Keywords” is from May of 2022. Brad has most recently been writing about RSAs (responsive search ads) rather than match types.
Questions Asked of Ginny During the Chat
Q: I’d love to hear about strategies for managing overlaps between broad, DSA, PMax, and (in)exact match. Is there an order of operations? Is it all governed by ad rank/QS?
A: This article explains how keywords are selected to enter the auction when there are several keywords in an account that could match the search term – and the exceptions such as limited budget, etc. If you have an exact match keyword that’s identical to the query (or spell-corrected), that will be preferred over other match types of the same keyword. If you have a phrase or broad match keyword that’s identical to the query, that will be preferred over other similar keywords. If you have both a phrase and broad match version of the same keyword, the keyword with the highest Ad Rank will be eligible. When you don’t have an identical keyword to the query in your account, a combo of relevance and Ad Rank determine which keyword is eligible for the auction.
For PMax and DSA: When a query exactly matches (including spell corrected queries) an exact, phrase or broad match keyword within a Search campaign, that will be prioritized in serving over Performance Max or DSA. The match type doesn’t matter. When there is not an identical keyword to the query, the determining factor is whichever campaign has the better Ad Rank (e.g. the most relevant ad). More here.
Q: Our Meta agency rep advised us to use only couple keywords in targeting so that AI doesn’t get confused too many directions, would she advise to test a similar approach? I also think broad match is great pressure on us if we are dealing with smaller/local businesses as we’re kinda forced to use broad otherwise we lose huge amount of volume. Any other alternatives on this topic?
A; When using broad match in Google Ads, keyword theming is very important. Grouping keywords into ad groups & campaigns w/ similar themes makes it easier for Google to understand keyword meaning, select the best one & determine the ad that should serve for each query.
The goal is relevant volume. With AI & user signals, broad match is now much better at matching to relevant variations of keywords. As you look to find the right balance w/ broad match
- Be sure to use smart bidding
- Theme your ad groups
- Consider using experiments
Q: We have been seeing broad match results expand into essentially “competitor searches” for example if we were advertising Nike, we would see Adidas searches. How does she suggest navigating this?
A: I recognize this is a concern and that negatives sometimes only get you so far. Negative keywords is still the primary tool for addressing this, but the team is looking at this more deeply. Stay tuned!
Additionally, there have been some recent brand matching updates, so it may be worth retesting – particularly if the brands are well recognized as in this example.
Q: I am very happy with where Broad is going, but as I’m sure you know many folks want more search term report coverage. Do you think there’s any chance of that?
A: The changes to the search term report privacy thresholds won’t be changing, but the team continues to focus on privacy-preserving ways to surface search term data and is working on new functionality in search terms Insights reporting. Stay tuned for updates!
Q1:Do restricted industries that get flagged for using audiences normally miss out on the audience piece of broad match?
Q2: Can broad keywords recover faster from being paused than phrase/exact?
Q3: Which is better: broad or DSA?
A1: We honor users’ ad personalization settings and applicable policies.
A2: Learning happens at the campaign level, so keyword match type doesn’t matter.
A3: They are complementary. DSA relies on your on-page content for matching – a well-structured site is important – and is an especially good option for advertisers with large websites or product catalogs to pick up relevant searches that may not be covered by your keywords. And broad match uses many context signals to find relevant traffic, including the landing page (but not site content beyond that).
Q: There are a lot of times when the recommended optimizations in Google recommends trying broad match as a test. Is there a threshold of data that it gathers before recommending that or is it just doing that by default? No shade, only curious!
A: The recommendation to add broad match keywords may show when adding broad match versions of your existing keywords is predicted to get more conversions at a similar or better ROI. This recommendation also only shows in campaigns using Smart bidding strategies. More here.
Q: When is exact and phrase going to just go away? I’m guessing you don’t know or can’t say but when given the chance to ask…
A: There are no plans for changes at this time.
Q: For fresh accounts with no data and less search volume KW, what are the bids you would suggest, and with what match type?
Especially in the phase of finding the first few conversions.
A: If you’re optimizing to a conversion goal (e.g. sales, leads), you can start using a Smart Bidding strategy — be sure to have conversion tracking set up properly and the right conversion actions included in the “Conversions” column. Smart Bidding performs best with an account structure that consolidates traffic into campaigns organized by performance objective and with fewer and larger ad groups. There’s no need to segment match types, devices, locations, audiences, etc. because Smart Bidding considers these signals at auction time.
The Maximize Conversions strategy is the default and may be the best option here – without knowing more details. There’s no conversion requirement and this strategy will optimize for conversions within the budget you set. If you want to drive conversions at a specific target, you can opt to set a tCPA (target cost per action).
Maximize Conversion Value is another consideration if you want to optimize for maximum conversion value. Though, while there isn’t a conversion requirement to use Maximize Conversion value, we do recommend campaigns have at least 30 conversions in the last 28 days. To use this, you should be tracking conversion values with your conversion actions. And if you want to optimize toward a target ROAS (return on ad spend), you can opt into tROAS.
As best practices for Smart Bidding, we recommend the campaign receives at least 20 clicks/day and that you give the strategy 7 days to learn and adjust before evaluating or changing the budget or target. Use the Bid Strategy Report in Google Ads to monitor performance of the strategy.
As for match type, this is where I’d point to big advancements in broad match over the past few years. Broad match is designed to work with Smart bidding (don’t use broad match without Smart Bidding). Using broad match from the start can drive more traffic and give Max Conversions more data to learn how to set the correct bids faster. Broad match can look at other keywords in the ad group to understand meaning and intent, so be sure to theme your keywords well and ensure your keywords are related to the landing page. That said, it’s not perfect, so monitor the Search Terms report and search terms Insights for irrelevant matches to add as negative keywords.