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Exact Match Is Dead, But Your ROI Doesn’t Have To Be

AdWords is Removing Exact Match Types for Keywords — Here’s What it Means for You.

Google announced that they’re removing the ability to precisely target keywords, instead applying close variant match to all exact and phrase match keywords.

The new matching behavior means that all misspellings, plural forms, stems, and — you guessed it — close variants of your keywords will trigger your ads when typed into the search bar. According to their blog post, 7% of all Google searches include a misspelling, and this is their way of helping users get what they’re searching for.

To all of you freaking out right now: don’t worry, this should not have a drastic effect on your current ROI if you were already following best practices. As our Vice President of Operations, Logan Bennett, states “As long as you are being diligent with how you manage you should convert like you were before. To maintain control as the advertiser you need to be optimizing your search query report and continue to have extensive negative keyword lists.”

For the past couple weeks, tech and advertising forums have been blowing up with comments from advertisers who are feeling anything but ambivalence about the issue. I’ll admit that even I was surprised to see this Change.org petition. Could someone consider this Google mandate something petition-worthy?

Not that I’m sneering here — the loss of exact match is indeed a loss. But as Larry Kim of Wordstream so aptly puts it, “Ultimately it’s a Google AdWords world. We’re just living in it.”

It’s true that Google is friendly, innocuously-clothed in primary colors, and full of the right answers. Its omnipresence in our daily lives and our online needs make it easy to forget that this is a system we are choosing to participate in.

Since AdWords launched all those years ago, quite a few changes have happened to help further develop the system — some more effective than others. Advanced segmentation, for example, is a great way to improve your campaign ROI, and will continue to develop as time goes on.

So, take a deep breath, and realize that everything is going to be just fine – as long as you have those negative keywords!

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