Live from SMX Advanced: Match-Maker – Match Type in Paid Search

Take Home Messages

  • Use broad match campaigns as a farm team to find winning keywords, then change winners to phrase and exact match. Winners should go into their own campaigns to better manage budget for those keyword sets.
  • Bid more highly on winning keywords in exact match to get best positioning on those phrases

Tip: Use negative exact match phrase when it is a very competitive term. So bid on broad match for the phrase, add a negative exact match for the broad term – then identify winning related terms around it.

Tip: Set up campaigns by match type. This helps control budget. The challenge is that if the campaigns are not properly funded, the exact match won’t pace properly, or will run out of money. Also be careful not to set up fragmented campaigns. Also, campaign level gives you impression share metric.

Here is summary from each presenter:

Craig Danuloff of ClickEquations – How to Hunt

Match-type is query hunting. As both an agency and software provider, they see a bunch of different choices of match type use. We are way too keyword obsessed in the paid search world. Keywords and bids are the shiny objects that they want us to pay attention to, but the search engines choose which queries to serve our ads on. We should decide which queries to be shown for – not have it done “randomly” by the search engines.

In broad match, there are many types of searches that might have different economic values. But if you pay for them all and send them all to the same landing page, we end up managing our campaigns by “averages” – where some are great performers and really appropriate, and others are very inappropriate and won’t convert.

Craig continues to compare match types to different weapons:

  • Exact match is a rifle – the exact words
  • phrase match – shotgun – get mostly the people we want
  • broad match – bomb – get a bunch of people, but many we don’t want
  • automatic – black hole. The collateral damage is immeasurable

If you just use broad match, and don’t decide which queries where your ad is shown, then you don’t decide who will see your ads, the engines will. So, competitors can grab the queries through match type, and you get left out of good converting terms. So – in ads being shown: exact match beats phrase match which beats broad match. Therefore, will lose positioning to a competitor who might use a more tightly controlled method of selecting phrases.


  • Control search queries. Target the good ones, and filter out the bad. Select and prioritize those we really want to be seen on.
  • Value search queries as appropriate
  • Filter out the loser

The Keyword Trap

IF you buy keywords in all three match types, then you can (theoretically) get the best likelihood to be seen on the really important terms, then others that are less important, you get the broader keywords. When bidding on all three, you can bid different levels on each match type, so you get higher positioning on the really good phrases and save money on the longer tail ones.

Broad match keywords are the farm team – they are the ones that help you find out which keywords are winners, and you promote those to phrase or to exact match.

10% conversion in exact match – $1 CPC, then $10 per CPA

5% in phrase – $0.50 CPC, then $10 CPA

1% in broad – $0.10 bid, then $10 CPA

Once the construct is built through “farm team” work in broad match, this is the way you would proceed.

Separate match types by different AdGroups – this is really important for reporting and then move good keywords to exact and phrase match Adgroups for better bidding control.

Brian Kaminski – iProspect – Match Types in Action B2B Case Study

There are a lot of complex issues in paid search that lend a lot of complexity to managing campaigns. In short, match types can help simplify managing campaigns.

Company is a multi-billion dollar client, driving a lot of clicks. However, conversion and CPA goals, negative brand image, bounce rates were bad. Broad match was 98% of clicks.

The three key areas that the campaign was failing at was that the ads were showing in inappropriate queries, there was irrelevant traffic and strong product overlap lead to user confusion. People were arriving at the wrong product when they searched.

Step one was to focus the campaign. In this situation, match types was the best way to simplify this campaign.

  1. 1. Added mutliple match types on brand
  2. Hundreds of negatives to clear up confusion
  3. Added thousands of terms
  4. BUilt out smaller ad groups
  5. Used ad copy to get the right people
  6. Refined AdGroups

This brought CTR up, CPC down, CPA fell and overall coonversion volume increased. THere was a tighter relationship between query and landing pages. This better experience did have some positive effect on the negative brand impact because the user experience improved.

Keys to Make PPC Match Types Work

  1. Evaluate match types based on budgets. Sometimes it’s important to fund exact and phrase match campaigns more highly, so that you don’t lose visibility on these valuable terms.
  2. There are different best practices for different engines. Modify campaigns differently by each engine.
  3. Branded terms should also be set up as broad match to assure good visiblity for longer tail.
  4. If the product lifecycle or overlap is a challenge, it’s important to set up match types for the best converting terms and have landing page experience match the query.
  5. TEST.
  6. Look for opportunities and openings in competitive landscape. Are there opportunities to get better positioning there?
  7. Use matchtypes to simplify your life, not make it more complex
  8. Match types are not a set it and forget it approach – leverage the data going forward.
  9. Do NOT just go halfway – complete the expereince and test with specific ads and landing pages based on match type.

Start out with clearing up match types, then work on ad copy, then landing page experience. It’s important to get the winning keywords and then improve campaign conversions from there.

Seth Barnes – – Observe and Report – In-house Strategies for Traching and Tweaking Keyword Match Types

Since Edmunds provides information on all different types of vehicles, they can play in a very broad marketplace for keywords. To do this correctly, though, it’s important to have the measuring tools in place and look at them all the time to assure that you are on the right track.

If you don’t play with multiple terms, you risk losing market share.

Don’t be over-zealous with match type – Deploy, Observe, Report and test, test, test.

Within the vertical, if you ar ebig player, until you have deployed your campaigns, you cannot know what is going to happen. For instance, there are issues with the economy, etc. It is not possible to just listen to recommendations from others – it’s important to get into the campaigns and try things.

Seth is a big advocate of automation. However, it takes a lot of effort up front to build out the method by which you manage the campaigns. Setting up a template and methodology to deploy on new product launches, so taht it simplifies getting ads out quickly. Rolling out organized campaigns makes life easier.

Start out – prune back on broad match to keep your campaigns sharp.  Look at AdWords data or inhouse data to better understand what is going on. Engines expand and contract match tyueps for quality, coverage, and revenue purposes. It is important to look for click spikes, low ROI keywords. Use the search engine reps to your advantage. THey can help navigate these changes.l

Recent developments includes a 20% increase in daily queries for the first time in 90 days. Yahoo is setting up market reserve pricing, and MSN has launched Bing with will increase relevancy of search, so may not show search ads as frequently, but there is a lot of buzz to happen with MSN.

Yahoo’s market reserve means that if you lower your bids too far on exact match, they will then switch to broad match or they will go dark completely.

Here’s what to look at to implement good campaign assessments:

  • Reporting and Analysis
  • Rev iew log files and query tracking
  • Build an ongoing negative keyword lists. Cross pollinate negatives across engines
  • Build a dashboard
  • Look at search query reports to understand what keywords are being shown for a query
  • Clean up the campaign structure to allow good reporting and develop an action plan for better fine-tuning

Last, Seth shares a case study about how they handled issues about buying keywords for Chrysler during the bankruptcy issues. They researched what phrases were being used, and negative matched “bankruptcy” assocaited keywords, but left those phrases that in place that had purchase intent.