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Broad Match Modifier: Google's New Gem

Google's Broad Match Modifier is out of Beta and into production! This is a game-changing release that will allow savvy advertisers to serve more relevant ads and therefore drive better results. (Note - This feature is ONLY available in the UK & Canada as of May 11th, 2010) We have advocated for better controls over broad match for a very long time, and the time has come! As Beta testers we've been excited about this new control set for quite some time because we have seen its benefits. BROAD MATCH MODIFIER ("BMM") The concept is simple: by placing a "+" in front of a word or words within a keyword phrase Google will ensure that that word is contained within the user's search before serving that ad. The +keyword will catch closely related words like plurals/singulars and common alternate spellings and misspellings. It will also catch common abbreviations. Essentially anything that is close enough to merit bolding in Adwords now. Let's look at some examples of how BMM works: Example 1 Under the current extended broad match product ("EBM") KW = "European vacation packages" could currently be matched to...well...anything, but certainly a user search on "Italian museum tours" could fire that rather un-targeted ad, rather than a more targeted "Italy vacation package" also in the portfolio. However, using BMM we could restrict this a bit with: KW = "+European vacation packages", and guarantee that the ad is only served to those searching for something related to "Europe" or "European". This ad could still fire on Query = "flights to Europe" or "European tourist attractions", but would NOT fire on "Singapore vacation deals" Example 2: Further restricting this to KW = "+European vacation +packages" would ensure that the user searched for European packages, more than just flights or hotels by themselves, so might be served in response to Query = "Europe travel package" or "Tour packages for Europe", etc. Less restrictive than phrase match, but more restricted than the current EBM. Example 3: KW = "+European +vacation +packages" is good old broad match from the days of yore, before extended broad match made us pull our hair out. This one will only be served on highly correlated searches like: Query = "vacation package deals for Europe", "Eastern Europe vacation packages", etc. The flexibility this provides is tremendous! Coupled with a comprehensive keyword list, smart use of BMM and a powerful bid management system the enhanced control should make a material difference. SUMMARY The resulting improvement in targeting will benefit everyone. We've found that going from campaigns on broad match, to campaigns on BMM with plus signs in front of each word in each phrase almost doubles the click-through rates. This is a result of paring out huge swaths of users looking for something else entirely. Moreover, just as the conversion rate of traffic that matches exactly is higher than broad matched traffic, we're finding the value of BMM traffic to be significantly higher than EBM as well. The opportunity presented to sophisticated bid management systems is terrific. The benefits to the advertiser are obvious, but more relevant ads will benefit Google as well. Just as segmentation allows us to better allocate resources in other marketing channels, tying bids more closely to the value of each segment of traffic: exact match, phrase match, BMM and EBM will allow smart advertisers to spend more money cost effectively. Additionally, serving more relevant ads will encourage users to pay more attention to the sponsor listings as the ad copy will be tighter and the landing page more relevant. We're still learning how best to use BMM across a portfolio of keywords. We don't think ditching EBM entirely by going "all pluses" will make sense; EBM still catches crazy typos that no keyword list will have. Layering an additional set of duplicate campaigns is one approach to filter out traffic into appropriate response buckets, but gets unwieldy at some point. Two obvious uses include requiring (with the "+"):
  • The advertiser's domain name and trademarks. Preventing the engines from using "brand" ads for general searches, or searches for competitors will save us all a great deal of grief.
  • Manufacturer brand names within keywords. This will prevent some of the annoying behavior of broad match picking brand specific ads on general searches, or worse other brands, or even worse brands the advertiser doesn't carry.
It could be that within a grouping of related keywords, requiring the manufacturer brand and the most unique other word within each phrase might help Google find not just a match, but the best matches when nothing matches exactly. We're tremendously excited about this product. While it does not solve the problem of self-competition entirely, it does give advertisers far more control and this will be to everyone's benefit.
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