<< by on July 17th, 2007
Janet’s post on Marketing Pilgrim about Google’s use of Expanded Match in Google AdSense Advertising has been getting a lot of attention lately.
I really think we are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addressing the poor quality ad serving on Google Ad Sense, and I’ll have more on that to come.
I was very surprised at the extremely irrelevant search terms that were triggering our clients’ ads with Expanded Match. But I was also very surprised to see how much cannibalization was going on with our clients brand and model keywords.
Example: Company’s Name = “Brand”
Company Model names: “Brand A”, “Brand B”, “Brand C”, “Brand D”, etc.
In our example, the company’s one word name is the most effective keyword at bringing conversions. We have it as an Exact Match and a Broad Match in its own Nameplate specific Campaign. Because it’s so successful for us we bid high to maximize our conversion numbers.
We also have separate Campaigns for all of the specific models sold by “Brand”: “Brand A”, “Brand B”, “Brand C”, etc. and use both Broad and Exact Matches on those “Brand” keywords.
I think most people were under the assumption that having an Exact Match keyword that matches exactly with the search query ensures that it trumps any other keyword combinations that could possibly trigger your ad. The Google Search Query Reports show that isn’t exactly the case.
I’m actually getting just as much cost in my “Brand” Nameplate Campaign – that doesn’t even include the keyword “Brand A” as a keyword for the search query “Brand A” just because I’m Broad Matching on the keyword “Brand”. I have very targeted ad copy and landing pages for the keyword “Brand A” in its own “Brand A” Campaign and have “Brand A” as an Exact Match and Broad Match keyword in that campaign.
Google’s Ad Serving Technology doesn’t seem to care about having the exact query being searched matching to an Exact or even Broad Matched version of “Brand A”. It seems my high bid for the Broad Matched keyword “Brand” matters just as much if not more than the relevance of my Exact Match keyword use, matching landing page and Ad Copy – So much for optimizing for Quality Score…
I’m also getting lots of clicks for “Brand B” in my “Brand A” campaigns and vice versa – again “Brand B” is not a keyword in the “Brand A” Campaign and vice versa. Exact match versions of the keywords in the correct Campaigns don’t seem to matter. Again, Expanded Match appears to be the villain again in these cases.
What’s the solution? Their can be several approaches, but a Google AdWords representative recently commented on Web Master World:
* use negative keywords to your advantage
* take advantage of the search query report (and your own logs) to mine for negatives
* seriously consider using phrase match instead of broad (as phrase match keywords are not ‘expanded’)
* seriously consider using exact match keywords instead of broad (since, as with phrase match, they are not ‘expanded’)
In other words, use Google Search Query Reports and don’t give Google the benefit of the doubt when it comes to accurately Broad Matching your keywords.
In this case, in order to keep “Brand A” from taking “Brand B” budget and vice versa and to ensure that I get “Brand A” ad copy and “Brand A” landing pages for searches on “Brand A” I’ve added a slew of negative keywords for all of my brand terms that I’m NOT advertising on to make sure I’m not cannibalizing my campaigns.
In my next post, I’ll discuss just how small the word “small” is with Google Expanded match – Get out your microscopes!