Last Thursday, Google announced that exact keyword match will now include close variant keywords as well. Many of you may be wondering what this means for your campaigns and what action is required on your part. We’re here to assure that there is no reason to panic!
For some background, advertisers currently have two options when it comes to matching ads to search queries: 1.) Only show the ad when the query exactly matched the keywords they set up in AdWords, or 2.) Allow Google to also match the ad to keywords and phrases that are very similar to the original one, including variations like plurals or misspellings. Starting in late September, the first option is going away and Google will always automatically include all of these close variants when it tries to match an ad to a search query. Today’s announcement only applies to what Google calls the “phrase match” and “exact match” options. As the name implies, exact match only shows the ad when the query exactly matched the keyword (e.g. “women’s hats”), while phrase match also shows it when the query includes other words (e.g. “buy women’s hats”).
While this change may initially be perceived as burdensome to Google advertisers who prefer tight control over their exact and phrase matched keywords, it does offer some benefit to advertisers. Namely, following the September update, Google advertisers will no longer have to build long lists of misspelled, abbreviated, and other close variations of keywords to get the coverage they want. Therefore, this update can help Google advertisers better manage keyword complexity across large Search programs.
Although Google is marketing this change as a benefit to advertisers, Marin recommends that our advertisers closely monitor their campaigns to determine how the September changes will impact their overall performance.
In 2008, Marin unveiled the industry’s first “Cloner.” Eliminating tedious manual efforts in spreadsheets, the Cloner allows advertisers to quickly copy campaigns in order to replicate campaign settings and keyword targeting across geographies and devices. With the touch of a button, campaigns, budgets, ad groups, keywords, and creative are instantly duplicated, saving search marketers countless hours each week.
Today, Google took a giant leap forward embracing tools vendors and the innovative idea behind the Marin Cloner. Until now, the AdWords API Terms and Conditions have restricted vendors from cloning campaigns from Google to competing engines such as Yahoo! or Bing. This morning, Google announced a change to their terms and conditions which allows for cloning across engines, providing advertisers with true portability for their campaign data and the ability to more easily manage ad campaigns across search engines.
Search marketers will no doubt be excited by this move, as they can now avoid the duplicate efforts required to manage identical campaigns across Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. But this change is good for more than marketers mental health! Ensuring data portability is good for the industry, because it puts marketers in control. Using tools like Marin, marketers can now more easily measure, manage, and optimize digital advertising campaigns across channels, publishers and devices from a single platform.
Look for this change to unlock a sea of innovative features which are yet to come, benefiting advertisers, publishers, tools providers, and yes, even Google as marketers see higher returns on their integrated marketing campaigns.
This morning, Google announced a new feature that will be rolling out across display ads over the next few weeks. In the upper right corner of select ads, a small [X] will now appear allowing users to click and “mute” ads from that campaign from being shown to them again. Google believes that this will be a win-win-win within the display ecosystem: users control their ad experience, advertisers don’t pay to show irrelevant ads and publishers display better performing ads.
Based on what Google is telling us, one irrelevant ad could cost online marketers from showing ads in an entire campaign ever again to that particular user. It seems extreme to prevent all ads within the campaign from showing again, rather than just the group containing the muted ad. However, the same ad could be shown again by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific content. Though muting isn’t a 100% guarantee that users won’t see that ad again, one thing is for certain, online marketers will need to ensure, now more than ever, that their display campaigns are focused and highly relevant. Hopefully, user engagement with this new feature and changes in ad performance will dictate future updates, if any.