The Optimal Blend of Match Settings for Adwords

In a recent webinar we’ve been conducting, we talk about using an “optimal blend” of match settings in an Adwords account. There seems to be a bunch of confusion surrounding this topic because we receive frequent requests that we elaborate on the subject.

Some questions that come in are:

  • What match setting is the best?
  • What percentage of our match settings should be broad?
  • What match setting has the cheapest CPC?
  • Which match settings make the optimal blend?

All of these questions infer that we are really missing our mark when explaining the subject. What we are saying is there is no definitive best or worst, appropriate percentage, or optimal blend that works for every advertiser. There is only the optimal blend for each individual account. The only way to really understand what blend is optimal for you is to look deep into your account’s search queries. When we are looking at search query analysis [See Search Terms button on the Keyword Tab] we are trying to observe who is clicking on the ads and where they going after. Search query analysis can be very overwhelming when you are looking at thousands of terms. In fact, this is why most advertisers end up rolling out match settings of mostly one type or another. It’s a quick fix for qualifying visitors when you don’t want to go through a long list.

There are dangers that coincide with all the match settings. Broad match means your ads can come up for almost any query. This is good because you receive the most amounts of possible impressions but you could possibly attract irrelevant visitors or ones which are better suited for a different ad group. Phrase match leaves a little variance still but cuts back the number of impression you’ll have. And exact match lets you control the query 100% but you only receive a fraction of the total impression share available to you.

So it really boils down to: Qualified Visits vs. Traffic Volume.

In order to find “your optimal blend”, it will take some time on your part to find what settings give you the most “qualified traffic volume.”

Some things you should keep in mind when analyzing search queries:

  1. See how many negative keywords you can implement before changing the match setting. If this lowers your CPA toward your target, you might not need to add phrase match.
  2. If the queries are too difficult to control and you routinely see a major onset of irrelevant inquiries, test a phrase match settings alongside your broad match version.
  3. Pay notice to your conversion cost. If it is closer to your target, you might also find that the broad match version’s conversion cost has increased. Go back and review the broad match query report. Look for high volume relevant terms with low conversion cost. Add those in phrase match form to the adgroup’s keyword list until your phrase match volume is as high as possible. Pause the broad match setting keyword.
  4. If your keyword is already exact match, and you have an extremely positive ROI for that keyword, consider loosening the match setting to drive more impressions. Beware your conversion cost might increase. If so, try and offset with negative keywords. It is okay to increase conversion costs as long as your net sales profit is higher overall.

An alternative to using standard match settings are to use Broad Match Modifiers. BMMs are somewhat a hybrid match type. They allow you to pick and choose what parts of the keyword have to be present in the search. Beyond that, the keyword is still open for broad match impressions and queries. BMMs are created by adding a plus “+” directly in front of each keyword in the term. i.e. “+Adidas +shoes” means that the query had to include Adidas and shoes but can also include other words. There is no order structure in which keyword have to be. So a “shoes Adidas” query would prompt that ad. The caveat to using BMMs is that you have to include every possible keyword version including both plural forms.

We’ll post soon to talk more on BMMs but for now, this is a good way to consider a strategy for match settings. In the end, you don’t want to manage match settings because one version has the cheapest CPC or because it’s easier to just make everything phrase match. You’ll want to do what is optimal because it returns you the highest amount of qualified, low cost per conversion visits and net sales profit.

About Peter Dulay

Advertisers choose Conversion Giant because we know that conversions, revenue, and profit come from more than just your marketing. It comes from thinking “BIG” about your business.