As we move toward the second half of september, we draw closer to a time where advertisers using Google AdWords will no longer have the ability to de-select close variants.
Google AdWords told us that at the end of September, all campaigns will include these variants which is something that advertisers had previously the option of opting out of.
What Will This Mean For Your AdWords Management?
If you account structure has a focus on channeling plural vs non-plural traffic, misspellings of product names to capture common search query errors or you just like to know exactly where your traffic is coming from then things will change significantly for you late September.
So what are “close variants”? The close variants feature was created by Google to allow for misspellings and very close iterations to the keywords that within your campaign. Its a fantastic feature that allows advertisers to gather more coverage and reach, and ultimately avoid missed opportunities to generate conversion through search queries that may relate to the inputted keyword but might not exist as a keyword in the campaign.
If you set up a new account now, this setting is switched on by default, but can be turned off at a campaign level. This will no longer be an option as we move in the later part of the year. Most self-managed campaigns are likely to be configured this way already.
When this migration begins, Google will cast the net far wider, likely reeling in some fresh terms that generate conversion that might have been missed with a much more restrictive campaign structure.
Lets bring this to life a little. If you are advertising with close variants turned on using an exact match term of “designer clothes”, your ad would then show for terms that you might not have known about or have factored in to your account.
Here Is What You Could Show For:
- designer clothes
- designer clothing
- designer cl othes
- designer cloths
If you had variants turned off and you were using the same exact match keyword, Google would only trigger your ads to show for the query “baby clothes” and nothing else.
Whilst casting the net wider allows you to attract customers that you might not capture with a restrictive strategy, its important to make sure that your money is going search terms that are likely to generate a return – Google’s ‘close variants’ tool might be smart but, at the end of the day, you know your business and prospective market better than an algorithm does.
If we look at the above example in a little more detail, we can see that the difference between the keywords “designer clothes” and “designer cloths” extremely minimal, but the practical implications of a few missing characters is significant.
To shed a little more light on the close variant matching tool, you can see some real-world examples of how variant keywords can trigger your ad in searches that are far from desirable in terms of conversion and can badly affect campaigns that have a more restricted budget, ultimately causing loss:
- [cardiology] => [cardio]
- Query: “cardio prevention program”
- Keyword: “cardiology”
- [fire] => [firefighter]
- Query: “german fire helmet”
- Keyword: german firefighter helmet”
- [surgery] => [surgeon]
- Query: “cosmetic plastic surgery anaheim”
- Keyword: cosmetic plastic surgeon anaheim
The reality is that even though these keywords are close in spelling, the practical reality is that the market they hit is completely different.
A Google user who searched for “cardio” is probably not going to be engaged by an ad that is for a “cardiologist. Furthermore, There are many products and services that significantly differ in practical terms between the singular and plural versions. For example, a person who searches for “Lamborghinis” may be looking for photos or historical information as opposed to the user who searches for “Lamborghini”.
While this change doesn’t seem like a big one, it can have a huge effect on the quality of the traffic that you are paying for. When all advertisers are rolled in to this new update, the ‘pure’ version of exact match keywords will be gone. The reality is that, if you have been able to get relatively unscathed with a management style that is, lets say, set-and-forget with broad match keywords, you will need to be addressing your account more often as of late September.
When you next log into your account you will need to make sure that you don’t have keywords that overlap, ultimately diluting your account spend. You will need to analyse your Search Query Report at least weekly if not daily so you know how your ads are being triggered and to assess how profitable they are for your business. The.The work that you need to do will inevitably increase but if you are willing to take it on, you will see great things from your Google Advertising.
If you are unsure if your account is ready for this migration or you need to know how this change will affect your Return on your Investment, get in contact with one of our Google Certified individuals to do some analysis with you and help you prepare.