Google expands its exact match keywords

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

Historically, exact match keywords meant ads only showed when those particular keywords were used. More recently, Google announced that it would be expanding the broadening of exact match keywords. By employing machine learning, exact match keywords will now serve ads that include implied words, paraphrase and any other search terms with a similar connotation.

For example, if you were to use Google Ads to market a paint business and we used the exact match keyword [yellow paint], your ads could show for search terms like “lemon paint”, “shops with yellow paint” or “yellow bright paint”. 

Google claims it’s making this change to benefit companies using Google Ads. According to Google, around 15% of searches conducted every day are new, and as a result, it’s impossible to target all the keywords individuals are using to search for goods and services. By expanding exact match to include real-time searches with similar intent, ads can reach new customers without advertisers having to create fully comprehensive keyword lists. Consequently, advertisers can spend more optimising and creating captivating ad copy, rather than creating endless keyword lists.

Despite the positive outlook from Google HQ, many PPC influencers feel this change means advertisers will have to monitor their accounts very closely in the upcoming months. PPC expert, Alan Schieber looked into one of his accounts to check the impact of the new exact match changes and found that a substantial amount of new more extreme misspellings were triggering ads, plus a wide collection of new same intent terms. Interestingly, a significant proportion of those same intent terms had to be immediately added as negative keywords because the new terms were related to a completely different product. Schieber also said that average cost-per-click for the new search terms were about 2.37% higher than the account average. This finding is echoed across the paid search community, with several agencies reporting cost-per-click rising across their accounts.

Whether you think this change to exact match keyword targeting is a positive or negative, going forward it’s recommended that advertisers continuously evaluate search query reports, allowing us to identify irrelevant search terms to add as negative keywords. It will also let us discover new converting queries that can be added to the account as managed keywords.


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