Unlock the power of Paid Search advertising: a comprehensive overview of keyword match types

Introduction to Paid Search Advertising

Paid Search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, is an effective way for businesses to promote their products or services online. To maintain a strong online presence, PPC advertising offers a targeted approach to reach potential customers. Its agility means that you can also support PR, Social and SEO campaigns extremely efficiently. Not only can you target specific search terms through keywords, but you can also build a picture of your online audience, trends, and competition.

Increasingly, PPC is no longer only about Paid Search — the pay-per-click model is also used elsewhere, such as social media — however, for this article, you can assume that if PPC is mentioned, we are talking exclusively about Paid Search.

Understanding PPC marketing

At the very basic level, Paid Search marketing is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. It allows businesses to bid for ad placement on the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for a keyword you’ve chosen to bid on.

When a user searches for this keyword, the search engine runs an auction to determine which ads will be displayed. There is no one set bid for any industry or keyword — relevancy, historic data, competition, and your website will all feed into the price of the click. The two most often used search platforms are Google and Microsoft (through Bing), with both offering an ads platform and access to their search (and display) networks.

Benefits of PPC advertising

There are numerous benefits to using PPC advertising. Firstly, it offers instant visibility, as your ads can appear on search engine results pages as soon as your campaign is launched (with some caveats applied). This can lead to immediate traffic to your website and potential customers for your business.

Secondly, PPC advertising provides precise targeting options, allowing you to reach the right audience at the right time. You can target specific locations, demographics, your own data, and devices to ensure your ads are seen by the most relevant audience. Lastly, PPC advertising provides measurable results, allowing you to track the performance of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimise your ads for better results.

The importance of keyword research in PPC campaigns

Keyword research is a critical step in running successful PPC campaigns. It involves identifying the keywords that are relevant to your business and will help you reach your KPI’s. By targeting these keywords, you can ensure that your ads are shown to users who are actively searching for the products or services you offer.

Keyword research helps you understand the language and search terms your potential customers are using, enabling you to create compelling ad copy that resonates with them. It is also tempting to assume or expect potential customers or users to search in a specific way. This can be fed into the keyword research, but you shouldn’t expect it always to have the results you expect. Search and intent of the user is not easy to glean from the search term. Our recommendation here would be to test/learn and watch trends.

Different types of keyword match types

Keyword match types determine how closely the search query needs to match the keywords in your PPC campaign for your ad to be triggered. There are several match types available, each with its own advantages and considerations. The bid and returning KPI results can also change enormously with the match type used. Keywords, although still very important in Search campaigns, are increasingly in competition with audience-first campaigns such as Performance Max (where currently very little search term data resides).

This is an ever-evolving process over on the search engine ad platforms — so watch this space, as it’s going to get interesting.

Broad match keyword match type

Broad match, once the bugbear of Paid Search marketers, is increasingly becoming the staple of Paid Search campaigns. It allows your ad to be triggered by a range of variations of your keyword, including synonyms, related searches, and even common misspellings. Historically, it often resulted in irrelevant search terms and low conversion rates, but this is changing and something we are actively testing with surprisingly good results. Google, for example, state that their smart bidding algorithm can match the relevant audience to the search term, cutting out any risk of irrelevancy.

Phrase match keyword match type

Phrase match allows your ad to be triggered when the user’s search query includes the exact phrase or a close variation of it. The search query can have additional words before or after the phrase. Phrase match provides a balance between reach and relevance, ensuring your ad is shown to users who are searching for a specific phrase related to your business.

Exact match keyword match type

Exact match is the most targeted match type. Your ad will only be triggered when the user’s search query exactly matches your keyword or a close variation of it. Exact match offers the highest level of relevance, but it may limit the reach of your ad. It’s important to regularly review the search terms and add relevant variations as keywords to capture all potential traffic. However, increasingly we are finding that exact and phrase have the same results and indeed matched search terms as each other.

Negative match keyword match type

Negative match allows you to exclude certain search terms from triggering your ad. It helps you filter out irrelevant traffic and improve the overall performance of your PPC campaign. By adding negative keywords, you can ensure that your ad is shown to the most relevant audience, leading to higher click-through rates and conversion rates.

Conclusion and key takeaways

Paid search advertising is a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience and drive relevant traffic to their websites. Keyword match types still play a crucial role in the success of Paid Search campaigns. Understanding the different match types and using them effectively can help you optimise your ads for better results.

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