Google has made some significant changes to its ad platform and marketers need to respond in real-time or run the risk of declining performance.

The news.

    • Keyword Targeting Changes. With Google Ads search campaigns, one commonly used technique is defining a keyword match type as ‘Exact Match’, which allows the advertiser to only bid on ad placements where the user searches for that exact keyword. That match type no longer exists as Google has relaxed its targeting criteria to now include ‘close variants’. [Forbes]
    • Helping Advertisers. Google has made these changes to help simplify keyword management as users expand the ways in which they search for specific things. For example, each day 15% of all queries are new, so ‘close variants’ are an attempt at covering essentially the same keywords that share the same meaning. Early tests show that advertisers using mostly exact match keywords see 3% more exact match clicks and conversions on average, with most coming from queries they aren’t reaching today. [Google]

“There are a lot of ways to say the same thing. Google is trying to help advertisers by eliminating Exact Match campaigns to cover all the ways a customer can find a product or service.”

Our Insights.

    • Why it matters. With the constant pressure put on marketers to justify a positive return on ad spend, as well as increased competition from companies moving more of their traditional marketing budget online and shifts in advertiser privacy from social platforms it is increasingly important to understand how these Googel Ad platform changes impact businesses. Extending the number of keywords your budget supports can stretch an already thin budget to its breaking point, while allowing Google to spend faster by letting the ad platform have more control in matching the supply (ie, search queries) with the demand (ie, the advertisers).    
    • What can help. Google is constantly updating its ad offerings in an attempt to leverage all of the search data and improve the customer experience. However, with these recent shifts, your marketing team or agency should proactively restructure your strategies and create a negative keyword list that you can continue to add underperforming ‘close variants’ to. This is the first step in putting you back in control of where your ad budget is being spent so you can optimize accordingly.