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4 Keyword Strategies for Squeezing Performance From Broad Match

john-gagnon
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From Product Ads, "(not provided)", data visualization, ad copy testing strategy, to broad match strategies – my conversations at ClickZ Live New York were varied (and at times brain busting).

So much is on the minds of marketers, but often, marketers skip past boring topics like keyword strategy, which often turn out to be the most valuable. For example, diving deep into a "boring" topic like squeezing performance from broad match keyword strategy could make a big difference in your account's volume and ROI.

Let's dive into broad match keyword strategies:

  • Data points from Bing Ads showing broad match is changing.
  • Four broad match strategies to help you control it.

By the Numbers: New and Improved Broad Match?

Here are data points Bing Ads recently published around broad match:

  • 40 percent of Bing Ads auctions are only accessible via broad match.
  • 40 percent of searches are too refined for advertisers to predict using exact match only.
  • 30 percent of daily searches are new and this percentage increases near the holidays.
  • Broad match keywords offer 70 percent more clicks than exact match.
  • Broad match keywords offer 56 percent more conversions than exact match.

Bing Ads provided Search Engine Watch with broad match conversion rate over time. The data is taken from Bing Ads internal data from January 2013 to October 2013. It shows improvement of conversion rate starting summer 2013 as Bing Ads adjusted algorithms and improved matching technology.

Bing Ads Broad Match Conversion Rate January-October 2013

But any search marketer worth their salt wouldn't blindly opt into broad match across their accounts – so let's break down strategies for controlling this match type.

4 Broad Match Strategies

Higher conversion rates since summer 2013 combined with 40 percent of auctions only available via broad match seems like a good reason to revisit broad match. But how do we control this potential fire hose of click volume?

There are three main levers that will help you get the control you need with broad match strategy:

  • Negative keywords, to block searches you don't want.
  • Broad match modifiers, to focus on searches you surely want.
  • Ad groups, to prevent "click bleed".

By combining these levers, we can get our basic broad match strategies. Here are four basic tips for driving better broad match performance.

Tip 1: Common Negative Keyword Lists

Negatives are a go-to tactic for marketers. And Search Term Reports are a search marketer's best friend because they're a great source for both negative and positive keywords.

After a few years in the business, you'll see common patterns. We know to remove navigational terms like "facebook", "youtube" or "craigslist" and even adult terms. But there are dozens of categories, and even pre-made lists for you to use:

  • Job Seekers: -salary, -job, -career
  • Researchers: -about, -news, -guides
  • Educational Terms: -classes, -training, -courses
  • Do-it-yourselfers: -how to, -diy, -homemade
  • Deal Seekers: -coupon, -promo code, -free

The list of lists goes on. Bottom-line, use negative keyword lists and think categorically about negative keywords to save yourself time and money.

Tip 2: Use Broad Match Modified to Refine by Intent, Brand, or Key Product Attributes

Broad match modified terms allow you to focus on what you want. A common use of broad match modified is the brand of trademarked terms. But this can be extended to other searchers looking to "buy" or a specific feature like "LED backlit" screens – this will make sure you're serving a great ad copy and landing page experience.

Broad Match Modified Terms Strategies

Tip 3: Prevent 'Click Bleed' Between Ad Groups

Samsung TVs, Samsung tablets, Samsung phones, and Samsung cameras are all great terms for Samsung's broad match play. But someone searching for Samsung TVs doesn't want to see an ad for Samsung phones. Use -tablet, -phone, and -camera for the TV ad group. Adjust broad match negatives and modifiers by ad group to get the most precise and appropriate delivery of your ads.

This is what Susan Wenograd calls "Click Bleed":

The act of your broad match keywords being matched to multiple ad groups, likely not the sole one you intended it to be tied to. When click bleed occurs, you are matched to multiple ad groups, some of which aren't relevant, which means less-than-optimal ad copy is shown.

Tip 4: Use Broad Match to Find New Exact Match Terms

Broad match can ultimately be one of your best sources of new exact match keywords. Broad match keywords are a perfect testing ground to find keywords that you'll want to move to your alpha campaign (proven keywords) as exact matches. And then negative out the exact match term, so you can continue to find new keywords.

This is often referred to as Alpha/Best structure or more recently, the Core and Expansion Methodology (see Bryant Garvin's great outline for more detail).

Now It's Your Turn

What broad match strategies do you use? We'd love to hear what you discover. Give these broad match strategies a run and let us know your results.


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