When it comes to search campaigns in Google Ads, it’s all about selecting the right keywords. Before selecting keywords though, we need to take a step back and decide which Google Ads keyword match type to use.
Broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match… Google ads offer so many choices!
Which Google Ads Keyword Match Type will produce the bigger bang for your buck?
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by putting $1,000 of ad dollars down on the table and letting the different match types fight it out.
The days of penny clicks are gone and PPC advertising is now getting expensive, so careful keyword planning is essential.
Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad. Google has a handy table to summarize the match types:
In this experiment, we decided to test “Exact Match” against “Broad Match” modifier.
- With Exact Match, you can show your ad to customers who are searching for your exact keyword, or close variants of your exact keyword. Close variants include searches for keywords with the same meaning as the exact keywords, regardless of spelling or grammar similarities between the query and the keyword.
- The Broad Match modifier option shows only ads in searches that include the words that you’ve marked with a plus sign, such as +red +shoes, or close variations of the “plussed” terms. More words may appear before, after or between the terms.
For example, the broad match modified keywords +red +shoes can match a search query for ‘red men’s shoes’, but not for ‘blue shoes’ or ‘red hiking boots’. This can help increase how relevant searches are to your ads, and improve your click-through (CTR) and conversion rates.
To make the results meaningful for the $1,000 of ad spend, we decided to include just these two match types.
Broad match is too broad and can include lots of irrelevant matches, and phrase match is similar to broad match modifier, although the search volume is much lower as the keywords need to appear in the exact order that’s specified.
Google Ads Keyword Match Type Experiment: Setup
The aim of the experiment was to promote our Facebook Ads Custom Audience eBook.
Here’s the ad we used:
When the ad was clicked on it took people through to a landing page where the eBook could be downloaded, and we measured the cost per lead:
The rest of the settings were:
- Network: Google Search Network
- Budget: $48 a day, set at the campaign level, standard delivery
- Countries: USA, UK, Canada, and Australia
- Language: English
- Duration: 22 days
- Total budget: $1,010
- Bid strategy: maximize clicks
To create our list of keywords, we started by putting 10 words into the Google Keyword Planner.
Here are the keyword lists we used:
Broad Match Modifier Ad Group Keywords
- +facebook +ads +guide
- +how +to +advertise +on +facebook
- +how +to +use +facebook +advertising
- +lookalike +audience
- +lookalike +marketing
- +lookalike +targeting
- +facebook +advertising +guide
- +how +to +create +a +facebook +ad +campaign
- +facebook +lookalike +audiences
- +lookalike +facebook
- +ultimate +guide +to +facebook +advertising
- +how +to +create +facebook +ads
- +how +to +use +facebook +ads
- +how +to +make +a +facebook +ad
- +how +to +make +effective +facebook +ads
- +how +to +run +successful +facebook +ads
- +how +to +create +a +fb +ad
- +facebook +ads +ebook
- +FB +ad +guide
- +FB +ebook
- +Facebook +ebook
- +Facebook +guide
- +Guide +to +Custom +Audiences
- +ad +espresso +guide
- +adespresso +ebook
- +create +lookalike +audience +facebook
- +custom +audience +ebook
- +facebook +advertising +guidelines +pdf
- +facebook +custom +audience +minimum +size
- +how +to +create +a +lookalike +audience +on +facebook
- +how +to +create +lookalike +audience
- +how +to +set +up +retargeting +on +facebook
- +lookalike +audience +definition
- +the +complete +guide +to +facebook +advertising
Exact Match Ad Group Keywords
- [how to advertise on facebook]
- [facebook ads guide]
- [facebook advertising guide]
- [ultimate guide to facebook advertising]
- [create lookalike audience facebook]
- [how to use facebook ads]
- [how to make a facebook ad]
- [how to create facebook ads]
- [how to use facebook advertising]
- [lookalike audience]
- [lookalike marketing]
- [lookalike targeting]
- [facebook ads ebook]
- [how to make effective facebook ads]
- [how to create a facebook ad campaign]
- [facebook lookalike audiences]
- [lookalike facebook]
- [facebook advertising guidelines pdf]
- [facebook custom audience minimum size]
- [how to create a fb ad]
- [the complete guide to facebook advertising]
- [how to run successful facebook ads]
- [Facebook guide]
- [how to set up retargeting on facebook]
- [FB ad guide]
- [FB ebook]
- [Facebook ebook]
- [Guide to Custom Audiences]
- [ad espresso guide]
- [adespresso ebook]
- [custom audience ebook]
- [how to create a lookalike audience on facebook]
- [how to create lookalike audience]
- [lookalike audience definition]
Google Ads Keyword Match Type Experiment: Hypothesis
Our prediction was that broad match modifier (BMM) would give a higher cost per lead (CPA) than exact match.
However, BMM would have the potential to show up in many more searches so would be able to spend more of the campaign budget.
What we couldn’t predict was the expected difference in CPA, so in this experiment we wanted to investigate exactly how much more expensive BMM was, to see if the trade-off between the number of conversions and the cost per conversion was worth it.
Google Ads Keyword Match Type Experiment: Results
Here are the overall results from the campaign:
Now let’s break these results down by keyword match type:
Broad match modifier: 84 leads at $7.66 each
$643.20 spent, 8,698 impressions, 4.17% CTR, 410 clicks, $1.57 CPC
Exact match: 60 leads at CPA $6.11
$366.58 spent, 3,137 impressions, 7.14% CTR, 224 clicks, $1.64 CPC,
From the keyword list, we can see that the exact match “Facebook ads guide” produced 25 conversions at $4.27, however, the broad match modifier +Facebook + guide wasn’t too far behind with 20 conversions at $5.65 each.
Turning our attention to the breakdown per countries, we can see that the US produced a majority of the conversions followed by the UK and Canada.
Australia produced the fewest conversions but also had the lowest CPA at just $4.24 and lowest CPC, indicating that although it’s a smaller market there may be less competition.
Google Ads Keyword Match Type Experiment Conclusions
- For the traffic cost, broad match modifier was slightly cheaper (at $1.57 per click compared to $1.64 for the exact match) but had a much lower conversion rate.
This is why it’s important to always track conversions, not just the cost per click.
- Broad match modifier had a 25% higher cost per lead, but produced 40% more leads during the time period.
So, there was a clear trade-off between the volume of leads and the cost per lead.
Maybe it’s not as simple as just picking one match type or the other though?
Google Ad campaigns shouldn’t be thought of as static, where you start them running and set and forget them.
Instead, campaigns should be dynamic where you use the results coming in to refine the keyword list and improve the results going forward.
Google Ads Keyword Match Type: Four Takeaways
- Using broad match modifiers allows you to “go fishing” and find useful keywords for inclusion in your exact match ad group.
- Both the broad match modifier and exact match groups should be analyzed for any inaccurate search terms which you can add as negative keywords to filter out.
- So, whether you should use exact match or broad match modifiers isn’t a choice between one or the other. Instead, use them in combination, so that you can keep refining the campaign.
- Keep an eye on the difference in traffic and conversion costs between the ad groups and then decide how much budget should be allocated to each over time.
What results are you seeing with keyword match types? Which match type do you prefer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.