The PPC world is currently agog with the news that Google is going to stop showing advertisers a large percentage of lower-volume queries in our Search Terms report. (Indeed, they already have.) It seems imperative to address potential responses to this change, so I’ll do so next week.
Dear reader, marketers aren’t as sublime in their goals or their talents as Michelangelo. Negative keywords can, in some cases, be too blunt of an instrument. Translation: if you have goals to hit, then you have to keep some flotsam around. You won’t wind up with David, but you get to keep your career.
Take the case of the so-so queries. In the fictitious example below – a Search Terms Report that reflects a mix of queries from various modes of matching we associate with a mix of Google Ads match types, along with the additional license Google now takes with “near” matching even with the Phrase and Exact match types (including giving you traffic from queries that were one or two words shorter than your keyword string!), we know we tend to achieve great business results from the query “dry scones.” Some other queries are putting up zeroes of late. We’ve already decided we’re miffed at the noncommittal single-word query “scones,” so it’s already been excluded (negatived out so that our ads never show to searchers typing that exact query, saving us wasted spend). Should we also negative “blueberry scones” and “fancy muffins”?
Not necessarily. Over a longer date range, it turns out that these queries sometimes convert, just not as often as our stars. Indeed, the query “blueberry scones” leads to a 50% lower ROAS than the adgroup average. “Fancy muffins,” 70% lower. But right now, we’re not really bidding them individually; the bids are based on a range of queries that are tied to the underlying keywords, some of which tend to serve our ads in a scattergun pattern of so-so queries, leading to mediocre results not because our ads sometimes or often serve against these queries, but because this approach means they’re serving too often at too high of a bid level to hit our targets. What may be called for is to bid specifically on the exact matches for these terms. Using the Goldilocks analogy, rather than taking a baseball bat and smashing all three bowls of porridge, we’ll do our best to consume porridge (or queries about pastries, at any rate) in a manner that is “just right.”
The idea is to select these queries (as shown here) and “add as a keyword.” The next stage, as you add them, is to modify them by wrapping square brackets around them, making them into exact matches. You’ll then bid them lower to get the actual CPC’s significantly below where it had been. That will get your performance overall closer to the target ROAS you seek.
Figure 1: Don’t be fooled by a few zeroes in the conversion column. Some of this query volume does represent potential sales, if you give it some breathing room (but not too much).
Talk to you next week!
Hat tip this week to technical consultant for SOPPC, Matt Van Wagner of Find Me Faster. We don’t always agree on every point, but a conversation with Matt hopefully helped me clarify my point of view around this technique.Read Part 27: Will a Loss of Google Ads Search Query Reporting Actually Relieve us of Toil?