Digital Marketing Trends


google adwords

A Farewell to Exact Match

Google Retires Exact Match in Adwords

Google has made the move to retire an all time favorite match type of AdWords Advertisers everywhere…the Exact Match.  Why have they done this and how will it effect our strategies?  Many advertisers are outraged by the latest Google move as they have become accustomed to the old faithful Exact Match for targeting the exact phrase typed in by a searcher with the exact ad appearing for that keyword.  Will the introduction of the new “close variant” help or hurt our strategies?  As with any new idea, there are pro’s and con’s to this change.  Let’s begin by exploring the pro’s.

Google has added in the “Close Variant” option to give better search results.  They have announced this option will be beneficial because 7 percent of people have a typo or two in the search queries.  Between the lack of correct spellers and the small keywords on mobile devices, misspellings are common.  Google always strives to deliver the best search results for an optimal user experience.  With close variants Google recognizes that a misspelling may be the exact product you are offering.  For example, if you are using exact match for “Nike Ballistec Tennis Sneaker” and someone types in ballistic or balistick or ballisteck, your ad would not be triggered due to the typos.  The use of close variants, however, would trigger your ad, now giving you an opportunity to market to that customer, regardless of their poor spelling or abbreviations.

The con to Google’s pro is triggering ads for “close variant” searches that are not necessarily relevant.  In the same example, if someone typed “Nike Ballistick Sneaker Cleaner”, Google would consider this a close variant and trigger the ad.  A click through to the site would result in wasted money if the advertiser did not offer sneaker cleaner.  With this new option, many more negative keywords will need to be added and added and added.

Regardless, Google has made the decision based on their extensive search query knowledge and we can either hold a grudge or move forward with new strategies to make it work.  Optimize landing pages to keep searchers on your page even if they came through a close variant.  Perhaps the person looking for sneaker cleaner will end up buying new sneakers instead!  Add in negative keywords based on phrase match rather than exact match in order to build a better list and cut down on keywords to eliminate budget leakage through too many close variant matches.  Another effective strategy in separating high performing/high roi keywords into their own campaign so they are not bogged down by close variants of lower performing keywords.  A little (or maybe a lot of) extra work now, will pay off in the end.

The fast paced world of Google AdWords does not allow us to be stagnant.  The new option of “close variants” is just another piece of the ever changing puzzle called Google.  We can either spend our time complaining about the changes or spend our time moving forward with new strategies that benefit our advertisers.  Time is precious, I vote for embracing the change.