The Death of Keyword Match Types?

Warning: Sadly, there is nothing new in this post!

Summary: If you are paying Google to advertise using Google Ads, do you get what you pay for and should you expect to? Keyword match types are now largely worthless and, I suspect, will soon disappear completely.

If I asked you to define the word ‘exact', what would you say?

A client contacted me recently as they had received an enquiry, or conversion in Google Ads speak. Great? No, absolutely not! The enquiry was junk, almost spam. And the sender wasn't in our targeted location (but that's another story).

So I do what any good Google Ads person would do and explore what search query had triggered this, ahem, enquiry:

This is the keyword:

Exact Match Keyword in Google Ads

[gps equipment tracking]. Exact match. Three words. Cost to the client – £3.59. 

With a 33.33% conversion rate, should we be cracking open a bottle of champagne? 🍾

Not so fast! Let's look at the search query that got us this conversion:


Search Query from Exact Match Keyword

Tracking devices? WTAF!

Tracking devices? From [gps equipment tracking]. Really?

Cost to the client of processing this lead through their CRM system, sales person contacting marketing person, marketing person contacting Google Ads person (that's me, BTW)? Who knows but a waste of time for all it certainly was.

Add it as a negative keyword” I hear you cry.

Honestly, I've been banging on about the importance of negative keywords for many years. I get them, I use them extensively, I nurture negative keyword lists. I really do! 

But what about you? What about typically advertisers? How many people can really dedicate the time to exploring every single search query and handling the fallout in the most appropriate way?

The real question, perhaps, is why should we? Why ruin a perfectly workable solution of broad/phrase and exact match keywords with this nonsense? I wonder what could be on Google's mind? 🤑

I started this post with the word ‘sadly' and that should also feature at the end.

There is nothing likely to change. Google has shareholders and unparalleled market dominance in paid advertising.

They need to keep seeing massive year-over-year increases in revenue and profit. Advertisers having too much control, combined with experience, knowledge and awareness is simply not good for business. 

Shortsighted? Of course! But until there is a rebalancing of market share, I don't anticipate this attitude changing any time soon. Sadly.

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