Google’s definition of broad-matched keywords says it will display your ad for “singular or plural forms, synonyms, stemming (such as floor and flooring), related searches, and other relevant variations”. The most significant word in this definition is the word synonym. That’s because it’s the most powerful and also the most dangerous.
Synonyms give Google a tremendous amount of latitude to display your ad and you will be shocked to learn who Google has shown your ad to. What’s even more disheartening is to know that users searching for these seemingly unrelated search terms, actually clicked on your ad. To see what I mean, you should run a search term report. But even that does not tell the whole story because it does not contain all the search queries for all the impressions where your ad was displayed or all the search terms for all of the clicks you purchased. Nevertheless it is quite telling.
There are two points I’d like to make in this post. When you use broad-match keywords:
- You get clicks for a fraction of what you would pay if you targeted that search query with a more restrictive keyword match type and
- Your ad is displayed for search terms that you could not target any other way.
The analogy I use is that it’s like buying carpet remnants. If you carpeted your entire house with carpet remnants versus a specific style and color of your choosing, you could do it at a fraction of the cost. While you may have had several impressions and clicks for a specific search query you really like, your ad was only shown for a fraction of the time (Impression Share) it was able to be shown for that same search query. That’s because every search query is an instantaneous auction and Google displays ads to maximize their profit potential. The fact that your ad was displayed for those auctions means Google couldn’t find any other ads to display that were potentially more profitable than yours. Therefore, you got a real bargain. But don’t expect to get that same bargain every time that same search query is used. If you do want to display your ad for that search query a lot more often, you must use a different keyword and match type and bid considerably higher.
Targeting low-volume search queries can be difficult, even impossible if you want to achieve a higher impression share. See my post titled The keyword conundrum.