As anyone in paid search will be aware, Google like to update and change how AdWords works quite frequently – for better or worse. If anything, this makes working in paid search interesting as it does not stand still. Below, I will briefly outline what these changes are and how you should optimise your account…
On March the 17th 2017, Google announced they were expanding close variant matching to include additional rewording for exact match keywords. This marks a significant change from the previous function of close variants which allowed AdWords to primarily match for plural and misspelt search terms through your exact match keywords. These changes will affect English and Spanish language account before being rolled out to other languages.
Unlike in 2012 when I first started my career as a fresh faced junior paid Search Executive, you can’t disable this functionality. The cynical amongst you would suggest this is to simply earn Google more revenue from their paid search business and you’d be right to suggest that!
“Early tests show advertisers may see up to 3% more exact match clicks on average while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates”
So, it sounds like it is a win-win for everyone then?
Well not quite, as the below graph illustrates…..
From Brass’ account data, we have observed exact match close variant keywords tend to have a poorer performance across CTR (click through rate) and CVR (conversion rate).
So what should you do about this?
The 4 actions listed below will help ensure exact match close variants don’t start to negatively impact your CTR and CVR, as well as potentially reducing your cost per click.
1| Review your search term report
How does the exact match variants perform vs. exact close variants? Are there differences in how each perform?
2| Whilst checking the search term report, review whether the close variant keywords are relevant to your account
I wouldn’t entirely trust Google to match relevant search terms based on what it thinks is right! If you find irrelevant terms or consistently poor performers then negative match these across the relevant campaign.
3| Add the close match variants you don’t negative match into your account
This way you can easily monitor performance, optimise towards quality score and set different max CPC bids based on performance.
4| Repeat the process!
This should form part of your search term reporting process as your account evolves and becomes ever more optimised.
Following these 4 action points will help ensure exact match close variants don’t start to negatively impact your CTR and CVR, as well as potentially helping reduce your cost per click-through, and generating quality score improvements.
Hopefully you found this blog useful and the AdWords close variants expansion works well for you? If you still want more information, as Google Partner Specialists, we have access to the latest updates and tools to provide ‘best practice’ PPC and search solutions.