Match Type Refinement For Paid Search

To continue our series on paid search strategies that work to reduce brand cost-per-clicks, another proven tactic to employ is match type refinement.  Lead Horse has assumed the management of accounts with “broad match gone wild” quite often.  While broad match does cast a wide net and eliminates the need for painstakingly developing countless variations of exact match terms, it’s certainly not the poster child for efficiency.  Run a search term report for the past 90 days and identify all relevant brand keywords that are currently missing from the account.  If there are hundreds, you can use click volume and conversion data to input minimum thresholds.

For instance, only relevant keywords with one conversion and above average click volume will be added to the account.  At the same time, identify all phrase, broad, and broad match modified keywords within the account that are currently missing on exact match.  Then, add both sets of keywords on exact match, place the max CPCs higher than the other match type counterparts, and monitor performance.  You cannot understand the true measurability of each keyword until it exists on exact match within the account.  Further, by allowing the exact match keywords time to develop history and gain traction before pausing the other match types, you are safeguarding against drops in both clicks and conversions.  This paid search strategy has worked well for large clients in the travel industry wherein the level of competition from OTAs and affiliates is very high.

After the exact keywords have trumped their match type counterparts, pause all of the regular broad match keywords.  If there are also low performing phrase and/or broad match modified keywords within the account, use the same search term report to identify irrelevant keywords.  Then, add these terms as negative keywords where needed and be mindful of the negative match types you select.  It is also important that your brand terms are structured in a way that aligns with engine best practices.  Keywords should be grouped into tightly knit themes and separated by ad groups within the account.  There should only be 2 active ads per device type within each ad group and the ads must be extremely tailored to the keywords.  For example, each theme should allow the keywords within that group to appear in the ads two to three times if possible.  After all of these tactics have been implemented, CTR should begin to improve and QS will increase as a result.

Another useful strategy is to employ technology that automatically monitors the misuse of your company’s trademarked terms in competitors’ ad copy.  Such a technology will scrape the Google search results page in various geo-markets throughout the day and capture screenshots of the ads.  Then, you can send the evidence to your Google representative and have their team escalate it accordingly.  This definitely sends the message that you are going to continuously defend your brand.

And, finally, if you decide to bid on your competitors’ brand terms, please create a separate account.  Consumers searching for other companies are much less likely to click your ads.  Additionally, you cannot legally use competitors’ brand terms in your own ad copy, which leads to lower keyword to ad copy relevancy scores.  As such, you can expect to experience below average CTR for your competitors’ keywords.  Since CTR is the greatest influencer of QS, these keywords could drag down the overall performance of your account and it’s simply not worth the risk.  These paid search strategies are innovative techniques that will improve your account’s overall efficiency and reduce auction based CPC inflation.

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