Posted by & filed under PPCChat.

This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Azeem Ahmad. PPC experts discussed about the close variant changes, using scripts to control match types, role of keywords and more.

Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.

ppcchat discussion




Q1 – We’ve had the automatic inclusion of close variants and changes in word order previously. Since those changes, how have you approached search query mining, and your strategies around campaign builds? (Ignore the most recent update for this question).


Can you really control it? We still go modified broad and watch search terms like a hawk. Now we have even seen keywords added to negatives and they still show up. We have been moving towards display too as we see CPC is cheaper. Google is moving more towards audiences like Facebook in our opinion and it’s paying off. Keywords are becoming less important. – @elevatedmrktng

More time reviewing search query reports (SQR) and applying negatives more aggressively and frequently. – @NeptuneMoon

I spend a lot more time looking for negatives and working with query reports. – @amaliaefowler

Nothing has really changed. We still follow the same frequency and process of scrubbing SQRs.  – @HeatherCooan

For sure going to spend more times living in SQRs. For accounts where exact on a few keywords brings in A LOT of conversions, it’s going to be annoying. We are going to need to query map like we do with other match types through negatives. –  @markpgus

I’ve revisited how often I’m doing SQRs and adding negs more diligently. Also, I’ve done more n-gram analysis to see if I’m finding any new query trends – @nataliebarreda

In general the close variant changes just meant that more attention needed to be put on search term reports, specifically exact match reports. That said, anyone with a concise build wouldn’t have to make many changes. – @zackbedingfield

Like others have said, I spend a lot of time looking at SQRs and building my negative kw list. – @Howdy_Doughty

Agree — today a negative keyword strategy is just as important as your keyword strategy. SQRs guide the negative keywords, but also can still give insights on user intent and behavior for segmentation and targeting. – @ChristiJOlson

The biggest adjustment, as odd as it sounds, is to tell my team that their plurals, and slight misspellings going forward border on worthless. Has sped things up a tad – @JonKagan

We’ve worked to trim down match types (in some cases cutting out broad match modified because of bid amounts and unqualified clicks) and better organize keywords into ad groups. As for keyword & query mining, it depends on client campaign parameters. – @marccxmedia



Q2 – We’ve just been given the news around same meaning variations. A lot of us responded in different ways, some positive and some negative. What’s your take on this update?


We’ve just been given the news around same meaning variations. A lot of us responded in different ways, some positive and some negative. What’s your take on this update? Despite however well we think Google is matching intention with the “same meaning variations,” it should provide some interesting data for scaling accounts both for PPC and SEO. – @CallRail

I get what they’re trying to do, but messing with “exact” match seems like the wrong place to do it. – @robert_brady

It’s frustrating for me. I saw exact matches value as being that, exact. And now its arguably looser than phrase match – the words don’t even need to be in the exact order anymore. I’ll adapt but I’m not happy. I’ll wait for the data to make a final assumption but I am not super stoked on the change – @amaliaefowler

IMO, it’s unquestionably negative. If I want to use BMM, I’ll use BMM. I won’t use exact. So google has removed one tool from the toolbox. – @stevegibsonppc

I am not a fan… I wish they would just drop the Exact Match type all together instead of continuing to broaden it. Also, kind of sneaky to have something called “Exact Match” not behave that way for less sophisticated advertisers. – @NeptuneMoon

there was a thread about this and I’m sorry to the originator!) but I agree with the sentiment that we are essentially the ones who are testing it and making their algorithms smarter. Also means we will suffer some CPC pains I’d expect. –  @AzeemPPC

I feel conflicted about it. On one hand, I love that Google is forcing search marketers to think more about “why” people are searching. But on the other hand, I’m annoyed because it causes more work and can potentially negatively impact high performing KWs. I agree with and I just don’t think exact match was the place to make this change. Don’t break something that’s not broken. Introduce a diff match type, or mess with one of the others – @nataliebarreda

Well, It’s sure going to screw up SKAGs for a while. And it’s going to be interesting to see what Google defines as synonymous kw phrases — there could be some good, trackable SEO insights from this. – @Howdy_Doughty

I think long term it’s a good thing. Manging a hundred minor variations of your keywords feels technical and productive but it doesn’t add value to the world. Short term – welcome to the learning period – @JasonStinnett

While we’re all happy to bemoan changes from Google that take away control from advertisers, it’s only a matter of time before their algorithms outperform advertisers and when that is the case, I will welcome over robot overlords with open arms. – @zackbedingfield

I understand how this could help some advertisers (and Google’s pockets) but for us it’s difficult. For accounts that don’t have sophisticated managers, this can help them scale their efforts, if they are just maxing out Exact rn –  @markpgus

I can make up meanings as well. Like, the reason I am sleepoverweight is because I work to much, and not at all because of my sedentary life style. In all seriousness, I get why it was done (for Google to make more $),just wish they wouldn’t do it so whimsically – @JonKagan

As much as I hate to admit this line of thinking — the bulk of customers (quantity) are small accounts managed by business owners. The change is for them, not us. So it hurts us because it’s taking away our control, but “better” for the smb’s. – @ChristiJOlson

We’re seeing Google make advertising easier for DIYers and novices in many ways, but it gets in the way of the pros. –  @Danielle_GoFish

it shouldn’t change things too much for us at this point in time, but it’s something we’ll definitely keep in mind going forward with current and future campaigns. – @marccxmedia


Q3: Are you increasing your reliance on audiences/demographics/other avenues (share which ones) now in your PPC strategies?


Not anymore than usual because of the match type changes.  – @HeatherCooan

honestly it varies between vertical/niche, brand vs non-brand, mid funnel vs upper funnel, etc. But I’d say 90% of my short tail non-brand keywords have some audience or demo (or both) on them. Waiting for to hurry up and augment theirs. – @JonKagan

Yes, where it applies? Reliance isn’t the word I’d use. I also almost exclusively work with very “WHERE ARE MY LEADS” clients so explaining the change is something that is difficult I’m always wary of the QUALITY of the leads that come from display. I can get a huge quantity but after spot checking calls and lead forms its not the same quality as from search, especially in B2B. – @amaliaefowler

I don’t think this changes anything on this side. I’ve been deep into audiences for a while, and I think this is where everyone needs to be with where the industry is moving. Cross Channel audience targeting/building is the future. –  @markpgus

I wouldn’t say more than before – a shift to audience emphasis has been happening for a while. Still holding the line on getting the most out of keywords wherever possible. Search intent is still a big deal! – @timothyjjensen

I think the notion of “increasing” reliance is somewhat problematic. Diverse audience/demographic options are there to help us gain insight and serve better ads. Therefore they should be integrated into a solid strategy, not take the place of one. – @zackbedingfield

Display targeting really has improved. If you haven’t tried it lately, we suggest you try it. – @elevatedmrktng

Yes, if you dig into most accounts you can find trends with HHI, demo, age group, etc. that can be adjusted to improve campaign performance. And layering audiences for observation is a no-brainer. –  @NathanK_TX

Not any more than usual. – @Howdy_Doughty

Yay, Audiences. I love audiences and how you can really create targeted campaigns based on KEYWORD plus Audience. – @ChristiJOlson

We’re currently focusing on targeting geographic and in-market audiences to drive calls and conversions for brick and mortar clients. Previously, we relied a little more on geographic targeting for eCommerce clients. – @marccxmedia



Q4 – If you’ve been using scripts to help maintain your control over match types, how effective have you found them?


I’m trying to get more familiar with scripts, so I’m also interested to hear what the pros are doing – @Howdy_Doughty

I’m very curious about scripts and this topic. – @NeptuneMoon

We haven’t utilized many scripts when it comes to maintaining control over match types. Working off a shorter keyword list helps keep things under control.  – @marccxmedia

so the script I think will become very important will be Ngram script. Another script I haven’t tried yet, but saw was this from  – @ChristiJOlson

The first thing that comes to my mind is that for those not keeping a tight grip on their real EXACT MATCH KW through negatives, keep an eye on auction insights for your Keywords. Other’s are going to dilute their budget with other KWs. Run the script FTW! –  @markpgus

Regrettably, I suck at scripts. That is all. – @JonKagan

i feel monitoring the impact on the main KPI’s using scripts is the way to go. That’s why i decided to create one, working on it as we speak. If interested, please see first version, feedback/suggestions welcomed! –  @ThatSearchGuyNL



Q5 – What do you think the future holds for keywords?


KWs will always be valuable because of intent. But at some point search growth maxes out while advertising platforms need more revenue. – @robert_brady

It seems, at least from where we are now, that keywords are going to continue to be demoted in the search ad triggering hierarchy. I do hope that the never go away completely, because their intent signaling is unmatched.  – @NeptuneMoon

Maybe more match type streamlining, given today’s discussion. It would make the most sense – @marccxmedia

Kiss keywords goodbye. Envision category based, a more Yelp like effort. – @JonKagan

Can’t really say. Haven’t been around long enough predict the future based on what’s changed in the past. – @Howdy_Doughty

Their importance is diminishing. I think (especially considering high CPCs) RLSA is the future and switching to a different Traffic source with cheaper CPMs/CPCs is going to be beneficial. Talked with recently and he ONLY runs RLSA. CPCs too high for him –  @markpgus

Keywords aren’t going away in the near term. BUT expect new and different layers of targeting on top of keywords to become more and more important as part of your strategy. – @ChristiJOlson

I don’t think keywords are going away. But we need to work harder on bidding on more intent keywords. I am seeing for my client that “how much is [insert a service]” queries work best. And our DSA campaign is really liking the blog pages which gets us good leads –  @mindswanppc


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