Ben Childs
By Ben Childs | Uncategorized | February 3, 2014

3 Myths about Ad Words

1. There is a “best” match type

Everybody has a favorite match type (3Q Digital’s Alpha Beta structure favors Exact and Broad Match Modifier, and some over at Hanapin believe that phrase match is king) but there is no match type that necessarily rules above all others. Using one type over the other (judiciously!) doesn’t equate to the success or failure of your campaigns.   It’s a game of give and take. Many advertisers take pride in using exact match exclusively and never bringing in any bad traffic. While that’s understandable, it leaves a lot on the table (you’re just going after what you’ve always gone after). Google itself says that 16% of the daily searches on Google are ones that have never been searched before, and a strategy that doesn’t take that into account is not destined for long-term growth. Portrait   This Search Term Report is just a list of keywords! We tend to use tiered bidding over here at Digital Reach. We use all three match types, and bid highest-to-lowest from exact down to broad. We play the give-and-take game all the way down the spectrum, showing up as high as possible for keywords highly likely to convert (i.e. exact match), and as low as possible for keywords we’re not yet sure of (i.e. broad match). Some broad match keywords significantly outperform their phrase match counterparts, and some broad match modifiers outperform exact matches. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

2. You have to leverage your history

There has long been a belief that it’s important to keep working in active campaigns for fear that changing a campaign would result in the loss of Google’s mythical and powerful change history. Whether building up a Quality Score or establishing Click-Through-Rate, there have been a million reasons given for not pausing campaigns and starting over.   While this is certainly true for reporting purposes (switching campaigns around always makes it difficult to understand what happened before a certain date), it’s not true for performance. While history is important, if you have terrible history, it’s best to just start over.   We’ve had great success simply pausing campaigns with Quality Scores in the 4-5 range, re-structuring them, writing new ads, and then immediately receiving scores in the 7-8 range. Google gives your newly created keyword an initial Quality Score “quote,” and moving a keyword to a new campaign (which Google treats as if you’re creating a new keyword) is the easiest way for it to get “re-quoted.”

3. Click-Through-Rate is worth it for it’s own sake

I was showing someone Perry Marshall’s fantastic split-testing tool the other day. It’s used for statistical significance in ad testing, with inputs for ad clicks and ad Click-Through-Rate. I caught myself explaining that, back in the old days, people split-tested ads purely to improve their Click-Through-Rates.   First, it made me feel really old, knowing how far we’ve come in terms of ad formats, reporting and best practices. Second, I realized that I’ve been talking to a lot of big AdWords spenders who still test purely for Click-Through-Rate, even in 2014.   CTR is important (and Google’s ad extension update made it even more so), but not all clicks are good clicks. Everyone loves a big funnel, but when you’re up against a budget, any money you don’t spend one place could be spent in another. We could imagine situations where you’d favor Conversion Rate (or ROAS) over CTR, and vice versa, but suffice it to say that each situation will dictate what’s most important.   The last point is the big takeaway, as it’s the through-line between all three myths: in AdWords, context matters. In all three situations, the most apt advice would be to say: “it depends.” If AdWords was simple enough to have one silver-bullet match type, everyone would be using it and I’d be out of a job.   Of course, working at an agency gives us a volume of experience. We can test things like account history, which could be tough for someone working in-house who may not have had the opportunity (or may have been unaware of it in the first place). Beyond that, what’s most important is having effective reporting that shows what’s happening in the account and the ability to extract actionable information to improve your results.

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