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Broad Match steals from other keywords

 6:12 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've noticed a disturbing trend in my Adwords account. If a broad match keyword earns a relatively high bid, Google tends to send clicks to it instead of to a better matching keyword with a lower bid.

For example, if broad match keyword "widget" performs well and earns a high bid, searches for "red widget" will trigger the "widget" ad instead of the "red widget" ad. Because of this, the landing page is non-optimal and conversion info that should belong to the "red widget" keyword ends up with the "widget" keyword.

Has anyone found a way to counteract this?

The only thing I can think of is to add negative keywords to the ad group containing the problematic broad match keyword. The negative keywords would match the more specific keywords which are being stolen from. "-red widgets" would be an example.

The only problem with this is scaling. I have about 4000 ad groups managed automatically via the API, each containing a different keyword. Will Google allow me to add 4000 negative keywords to each of my 4000 ad groups?



 6:17 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes just put the broad in their own ad group and ad the phrase match and exact matches you have in others as negatives.


 8:12 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my case, that would mean 4000 negatives in each of the broad match ad groups right? Will Google allow that?


 9:25 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not sure never had that many.


 11:00 am on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google uses Quality Score x Max CPC to determine ad rank.

Quality score is determined by many factors, yet is calculated when the user's query matches your keyword.

Therefore, if you have a keyword in the same ad group that is exact and broad matched, they should have the same quality score.

You can therefore set a higher bid for the exact match (usually 20% + difference is enough) than the broad match and the exact match keyword should be shown instead of the broad match when either keyword is can be triggered by the search query.


 6:14 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

eWhisper, that's exactly the layout I have. Each of my ad groups contains 1 keyword in exact, phrase, and broad forms, each with a different max CPC. The problem is that Google is showing the ad for "widgets" for user query "red widgets" even though I have a "red widgets" ad group. This is because the broad match "widgets" max cpc is higher than the exact match "red widgets" max CPC (which is in a different ad group).

SanDiego Art

 6:53 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

What is even more frustrating is that even after you ad negatives to your Broad Match ad groups, Google will still send occasionaly Exact Match traffic to the broad keywords. I asked my rep about it on several occasions and it was described as an anomaly...

But it happens consistently, not a very high volume but it still happens. For a system built on rules, you would think it would never happen, but it does.

I run all my exact and phrase terms as negatives in the Broad adgroups (or campaigns) as others have suggested. So far I haven't hit a limit. I currently have 50k negatives in my account, and 8k the most in a single campaign.


 9:50 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've run into the same problem with some of my broad matched keywords. The best solution is to just use lots of negative keywords and make sure that your broad, phrase, and exact matched keyword groups all share the same negative list.

I've found that I have to keep a close eye on broad match adgroups or else they eat up all my optimizations to the rest of the account.


 12:14 am on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

100% money grab move by Google the scenario you are describing. About as surprising as Favre unretiring.


 2:18 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Since most of my broad matched keywords are bid lower than my phrase or exact, I'm not really relating to this issue.

Nevertheless, as mentioned above, a judicious use of negatives should help.


 3:28 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ive had this same problem myself. Broad match somehow got more "broad" then it did before.

Never put your broad match bid same or higher then your exact and phrase match. So it wont happen. This helps


 4:56 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

That good advice about never making broad match price higher than phrase or exact, but do you really how many advertisers DON'T know to do that? Google will take advantage of "untrained" advertisers almost every chance they get.


 11:45 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think keeping broad matches lower than exact/phrase matches makes sense. If broad match "blue widgets" is a big converter, it should be bid up. If exact match "red widgets" is a low converter is should be bid down. The former's bid should be allowed to exceed the latter's if conversion performance dictates.


 10:48 am on Aug 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

The broad match version of a word rarely converts higher than the exact match version.

What happens is there are variations of the broad match that you are being matched to that are converting.

For instance, let's assume you bid on the broadmatch version of widgets. You will find that your broadmatched word was actually shown for these searches, and let's assume this is the corresponding Conversion Rate (CR):

widgets 1% CR
red widgets 3% CR
yellow widgets 10% CR
pink widgets 0% CR
red orange yellow widgets 22% CR
red orange yellow pink widgets 0% CR

To learn this information, run a search query report.

Then, add pink as a negative keyword, add the higher CR variations as positive exact/phrase keywords.


 5:21 pm on Aug 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

eWhisper is right a broad match CTR and conversion rate is just an average of the CTR and conversion rate of all the terms typed in. Look at your logs and start creating more and more phrase and exact matches until you find what is actually converting best.

Adwords is hard work.


 9:29 pm on Aug 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys. I'm reconfiguring my layout a bit and I think it will put me in a better position with all this.


 12:06 am on Aug 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I set up duplicates of each ad group by match type and then set exact match negatives of every broad keyword to prevent this from happening. This ensures that someone searching 'blue widgets' will never trigger my broad match 'blue widgets' keyword, but rather, my 'blue widgets' exact match keyword.

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