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AdWords Showing Adverts for Things You Don't Bid On

Broad match and Targetting options are all wrong. Check yours now.



12:44 pm on Jan 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google is showing adverts that you might not realise. You need to check these options, since Google have changed them without notice and have been charging advertisers for years for adverts the advertisers did not ask for.

Broad Match
Originally, broad match meant all words had to be in the search term. In any order. Other words could be in the search string. Their example is "tennis shoes".

That meant a match against:
* buy tennis shoes
* tennis shoe photos
* running shoes
* tennis sneakers

Now it matches:
* tennis
* shoes

The difference between bidding on tennis and shoes as two different keywords and as one broad match? Seems to be no difference but they have sneaked this one in.

Broad match is now very dangerous. Use phrase and exact wherever possible.


More important is targetting. They have changed the targetting from location to "search intent".

If you are a French company selling only to the French people, you have your adverts location targetting set to "France" and that should be fine, yes? No, it isn't.

Anyone searching for your search terms plus "france" or "french" in their search term may see your advert.

You think you targetted France, whereas you may be charged for clicks for people from Pakistan or Australia, even though there is no chance of a sale to that location!

This can be turned off:
* Go into your account online (AdWords Editor doesn't show the options!)
* Click on the campaign and choose the "Settings" tab.
* Click on "Advanced location options" and change the settings in there to target by physical location.



Personally, I think this is disgusting way to do business. No wonder their share price and profits keep rising but it seems to be more through dishonesty rather than good business practice in these cases.


8:10 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't forget +modified +broad +match.

It's got much better targeting than standard broad match, and generally more traffic than phrase and exact match.

~ Marty Foley


12:06 am on Apr 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been seeing this and complaining to google about this for a few years. It falls on deaf ears.

For example...I used to run a campaign for mineral makeup that would continually show for searches related to gardening and other completely unrelated queries. Seriously? How can they be that wrong? I've had similar issues with many different campaigns/client accounts.

As usual, the adwords reps generally don't understand adwords or advertising at all and don't understand why it's bad to show for completely unrelated terms. They are brainwashed that google is perfect and all they can do is parrot their scripts.

They say all I can do about it is to add negative kws. But when you've seen the kind of completely unrelated terms they show your ads for there's no way in the world you could ever come up with all the negative kws you need to to make this a viable alternative.

Yes of course you can set everything to phrase or exact match, but this can cause massive negative changes to your traffic.

It seems to be worse with some niches than others. And it also seems to me that if you are not spending your daily budget, google shows your ads for less and less targeted things in order to spend your daily budget. I have noticed that on several different campaigns/accounts.


12:39 am on Apr 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

AdWords really does take broad match too far sometimes, and a strong negative keyword list is your best defense.

Invest an hour to brainstorm with a good keyword tool, specifically looking for terms that should be blocked. Identifying even a few dozen words to block could make a big difference to the cost-effectiveness of your campaigns. Add more words to your negative list as you come across them, days, weeks or even months later.

TIP: if you find words you'd want to block from more than one campaign, create a list for that in your "shared library" so you can add it to multiple campaigns. That way when you come across a new word to block, you only need to add it in one place.


1:58 pm on Apr 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

buckworks tips work to save you bucks.


2:11 pm on Apr 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I try to make sure that every buck works hard! :)

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