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Adwords Mistargeting - Expanded Match Gone Wild
System is running the wrong ads

 2:11 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm managing an account with lots of model numbers. There is an adgroup for each model number. Ad copy in each adgroup specifies the model number and take the user to the appropriate page for the model number.

Over the past couple days I've seen several instances of where ads for "widget model 123" being delivered for "widget model 567" in situations where the model 567 adgroup doesn't include precisely the search term, but the term should be included in multiple broadmatch terms.

The keyword tool is not giving warning that model 567 is an expanded match for model 123.

Anybody else seeing this problem?



 10:05 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Solution should be negative keywords I think. Or don't use broad match...



 4:46 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Negative keywords are a "solution", but the problem is not caused by the targeting but by the delivery.


 1:41 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dang it keeps happening. I shot off another screenshot to Adwords on this today. The exact search term existed in one adgroup, but Adwords showed an ad from a different adgroup. The bids in that adgroup were much higher than the bid the bid for that keyword because that keyword is not all that profitable. The ad copy was also not quite appropriate.

This is a huge concern. The virtue of Adwords is that we can decide what ad to deliver to what keyword and what's the maximum we'll pay for it. Adwords is doing something to override our decisions. It's not happening often, but it is happening. Keep an eye out for it.


 2:31 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

The exact search term existed in one adgroup, but Adwords showed an ad from a different adgroup.


Are you seeing this on Google pages or only through the Ads Diagnostic Tool? The reason that I ask is that I have seen this for months using the tool. I look at the ad picked and say "what?!". Similarly, the exact phrase tried existed in another adgroup but was not picked, instead some totally irrelevant ad was shown.

In my case, I don't know if it is the tool or if it happens in real life. I'm reluctant to blow enough precious impressions to find out.

Historically, I've complained about all these things. I've never gotten one satisfactory answer.

From an email that I just opened from support about another strange thing that keeps happening, it's quite obvious they use some sort of software to look for 'keywords' and creates the appropriate response from a list. Sadly I'm just learning to live with these things.



 4:09 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing it in actual search results on Google.

Keyword: widgets

Ad that's supposed to be delivered:

"All Kinds of Widgets"

Ad that gets delivered:

"Brand X Widgets"

We bid high on Brand X terms because we have a much higher profit margin on that brand. But, these are targeted to only terms associated with Brand X, not unbranded terms.


 4:34 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)



The mis-delivery of ads is still a problem of course, but could you remedy your situation by using an exact match for [widgets] for the first ad with a negative match of -"brand x"?

Or did you just provide a simplified example of a larger problem?

I suspect the latter.



 3:34 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

This could be the issue. Broad match has both ads targeting the same term. They then take the "highest quality times bid" ad and display it. I ran into the same issue last December. I had a very high CTR ad that stomped tons of stuff with a liberal broadmatch. You need to "" that stuff. Or use negatives.


 5:45 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

patient2all and toddb, this is not an issue of the targeting needing adjustment -- of needing phrase match, exact match, or negative match. This is an issue of Adwords ignoring the targeting instructions it has been given. It is showing ads on terms that aren't included in the targeting, and which are not identified on the keyword tool as expanded matches. And it is doing so when the search term is a target term in another ad group.


 6:28 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think (but not sure) if the keywords in ad group 1 have a higher max cpc and contain broad match they may well override ad group 2 exact match with lower cpc, even if the keyword tool doesnt show the phrase as something broad match should apply to. I dont think the tool can possibly show all the broad match variations can it?

I never use the keyword tool for trying to find broad match variations, I always guessed they were just examples, not a finite list.

What happens when the keywords are the same price, not so sure, I suspect even then that the ad that will show will be the one from the adgroup with the best conversion rate, rather than going for a particular matching option.


 7:05 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Cline, broadmatch can do that. They state that it is constantly changing. Broadmatch is computer generated so if you check both ads right after each other everyday, the computer might think they are related.


 12:52 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

toddb, broadmatch is not supposed to do that.

This is a situation where the search term is "widget parts". "Widget parts" (broad match) exists in one adgroup. Another adgroup has more precise broad matches, all associated with a particular brand, e.g., brand x widget parts, model y widget parts, etc. No term in that group has "widget parts" in it without a brand name or model number. Yet, the ad from this adgroup is what Adwords is delivering, even though elsewhere in the account there is targeting for exactly the search term. Adwords is ignoring that I'm willing to pay only X for "widget parts" and running the ad for brand x widget parts because I'm willing to pay 3X for a click on that, even though I've specified that I only want that ad delivered on terms associated with brand x.


 1:08 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I understand what you are saying but I have seen it happen, and it sounds like what you are experiencing. Consider the fact that all three keywords can be broad matched.

The keyword set, fuzzy green widget could be broad matched to furry red widgets. So a model number could be broad matched to other model numbers if the computer thinks that is the way it should be. And I think this is important but it is based on search patterns so low volume searches ca be effected by our own ad checking.


 2:34 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

fuzzy green widget could be broad matched to furry red widgets.

That would be an extended broad match. The keyword tool should be inform the user that this will be an extended broad match term.

But, besides, shouldn't the more precise match take precendence? The account has targeting for "furry red widgets". Why should Adwords ignore this for an extended broadmatch on some other term?


 3:37 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)


It describes broad match. I do not know the difference between extended broad match and broad match.

Edit - Yes, I agree with the shoulds and being informed. Does not work. I was replying more to the "how it works". Yes, I was very disappointed in how it works in practice.


 12:42 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)


My take on the difference between broad matching and expanded broad matching is like so:

green widget - has a chance of showing for green widgets, a green widget, get green widgets, widgets that are green, etc. -- that is a broad match

green car - may show for green auto, green vehicle, green automobile, perhaps some odd ones like green transportation & green fords too.

In other words, expanded broad matching allows for synomyms for your keywords to be included in your showings.

In fact, you may go so far as to show for a broad match and expanded broad match as in automobiles that are green.

And of course, AdWords docs explain there is never a guarantee of any of these matches happening, it all depends on whether the great machine thinks these are appropriate matches for your keyword/keyword phrase.

People smarter than me: :)

Are there any parts of the above that could be disputed or clarified?



 1:35 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

"...With broad matching, you'll also automatically enjoy expanded matching"

Straight from the horse's mouth.

Let's face it, though. If you're searching for tennis strings why on earth would you wish to see results for tennis shoes?


 3:00 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

"enjoy" must be an expanded match for "endure"


 6:07 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

"...With broad matching, you'll also automatically enjoy expanded matching"

webdevfv, but you may only enjoy it for a little while. Later in the help:

Additionally, the keyword variations and expanded broad matches are monitored closely and can stop showing ads if they don't achieve a high enough Quality Score.

They've changed much of the Help recently, haven't they? Guess I got to read through it again.



 6:49 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

So if you are selling in a niche like tennis strings, does that mean you are competing for ad position against the big dogs selling tennis shoes who have the term tennis shoes broad matched and don't even know they are being shown for tennis strings?


 9:18 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Probably also for golf shoes and bowling shoes--and tennis lessons.


 6:25 am on Sep 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

So if you are selling in a niche like tennis strings, does that mean you are competing for ad position against the big dogs selling tennis shoes who have the term tennis shoes broad matched and don't even know they are being shown for tennis strings?


The "big dogs" probably have the term tennis broadmatched, no kidding!



 3:50 pm on Sep 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Holy cow Patients,

I hope those guys are using a lot of negatives. I have read that you can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to check what keywords are being broad matched against your broad matched keyword term.

I checked tennis shoes (broad matched) and it appears tennis strings would be safe even under Expanded Broad Matches for tennis shoes.

Tennis String does show up under the
Here are additional keywords to consider:
I don't know if that is meant for racquet strings or an actual tennis shoe string.

However, under the Here are additional keywords to consider: it does say that these keywords are not expanded broad matches.

Does anyone know how accurate this tool is for being used in this way?

Thanks for all your input.


 6:32 pm on Sep 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

For one thing, I have found the broad match option to be WAY too broad.

A second point - you find out a lot more about the finer points of how the various match types are supposed to work by going through the tutorials and whatnot that they give you for the AdWords Professional program than you find in the garden variety help files (something that I've been complaining about for some time)

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