The death of exact match examined
Over at Search Engine Land, they have been running an article on what the data tells us about the impact of Google’s recent changes to exact match within AdWords. They note that:
“From my observations, the update is doing what it’s supposed to do. The reach of exact match terms has been extended, granting new volume you weren’t reaching before. That can be good or bad, depending on the industry, linguistic meanings, double entendres and so on. You may find there are a lot more positive terms out there you weren’t covering with your existing build.”
That’s a balanced view of the situation. What we’re seeing is that the changing nature of exact match is certainly leading to greater search volumes. In some cases, this can definitely be a positive for advertisers. A great example here is if the extension has created an increased range of terms, meaning that your ads are now showing for keywords that create really well and that you were previously missing out on.
But there’s a flip-side to that: what if you had your campaign extremely finely tuned and were specifically looking to avoid over-reaching? The nature of the change means that it’s possible that your ads are now showing for some terms that you’d previously been (intentionally) avoiding. It’s easy to see how this might be viewed as being bad news.
From an agency perspective, we believe that the change has added simplicity to the system, in terms of enabling client set-up in some cases. But that will come at a price: for those who don’t understand the detail here, it’s likely that costs will rise and conversion rates will fall (with increased acquisition costs) in many cases. That’s probably beneficial for agencies, since it reinforces the need for expert assistance with managing AdWords campaigns.
Will this always be bad news for clients, or those looking to self-manage campaigns? Not necessarily, but there’s a clear risk that it could cause difficulties. There’s certainly been an ongoing trend, whereby those wishing to advertise on the platform need more and more help to deliver profitable campaigns. How about Google? Greater search volumes (and increased click volumes) should mean more revenue for the search engine giant, although they’ll need to be careful that moves don’t reduce Return on Investment (ROI), especially for small business users. If costs rise too far, then there will surely be a drop-off in advertisers.
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