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Some strange behavior lately in AdWords. One of our clients (Charles P. Rogers) has google ads on "brass beds" and "iron beds." They've decided to pause the "brass beds" campaign for a while now, to re-allocate spending to other ads. So I paused the ad group yesterday. But Google AdWords still displays their ads on the keyword "brass beds" (it displays the "iron beds" ad). In fact, Google is even displaying the "iron beds" ad on the keyword "beds!" Neither "beds" nor "brass beds" are keywords in our campaigns.
I know all about broad matching and extended matching triggering ads when your sponsored keyword is the stem of the search (e.g., displaying an ad for the search "buy iron beds" when "iron beds" is the keyword), but showing up for *less* specific searches just doesn't make any sense. If I bid on "real estate" does this mean my ad will show up for "estate?"
Google support says this is a "feature" of expanded matching. I call it a serious bug, with no workaround, since putting in a "negative match" for "beds" would cause the whole ad group to be disabled.
Any other thoughts?
Thanks for the suggestions. But if I don't do broad matching on "iron beds" (e.g., without quotes), then the ads won't display for searches like "buy an iron bed" or "I really really want to buy 2 dozen expensive iron beds right now" which would not be ideal. I already use Wordtracker to put in as many different specific search phrases into the campaign as possible (over 500), and apply negative matching to over 100 keywords that are not relevant. But I like to use broad matching to accomodate unknown searches that include the terms.
If I do negative matching on "brass" then the ads won't show up for "brass and iron beds" which they DO want to show up for, since they have iron bed models with brass accents.
But -[beds] and -[brass beds] will help, at least to disable the ones we know about (but not the ones we don't).
Again, thanks for the suggestion. I wonder how many AdWords clients are being affected by this and have no idea? At least it explains the drop-offs in click-through and conversion rates.
You may also want to look at using more specific terms for broad match eg "buy iron beds" (withougt quotes) as this should mean the ad is less likely to be triggered by less relevant searches.
if you have a keyword like california car dealer
and, you ad displays for sacramento car dealer
negating -sacramento may NOT fix the problem... because (Google tells me) the display is being generated by the california car dealer ad!
Negative matching does work. I did a negative match on [beds] and on [brass beds] and now the ad does not display for "beds" or "brass beds" but it does display for "iron and brass beds" and "brass and iron beds."
Doesn't solve all the combinations that we *don't* know about that are being triggered by expanded matching. We may start auditing the logs (or at least keep a closer eye on the Urchin reports) specifically for Google searches and try to identify other inappropriate matches to add to the negative matches. they're also high in organic rankings for many of these keywords so sorting out the PPC from the organic search referrals will be fun (not).
But again, turning off broad matching would be a case of the cure being worse than the disease. We can't predict exact keyword order of prospective customers, nor do I want to specify phrase matching of every possible combination (already have 500 keywords in this one ad group).
But thanks everyone for the suggestions. Very helpful.