Google Ads will no longer offer Exact Match. Yes, it has not been truly exact for some time, but now, it’s not even close.
In the next couple of months, Google will do away with even the appearance of exact match.
Google’s AI knows that when someone types in “maroon widget”, they actually mean “red widget”.
But, it goes beyond that. Based on clues available only to Google, if someone search “blue macadamia nuts”, Google will know they really are looking for “red widget”.
The explanation I received was simple and straight to the point. Google’s smarter that searchers and advertisers.
According to Google, the AI can tell that someone is likely to convert even if the search doesn’t match. So, the searcher should see the ad, and the advertiser should see more conversions.
Share your data
If you’re an e-commerce retailer, this may (or may not) work in your favor. You’ll know pretty quickly if the campaign performance is improving. If you give Google access to the conversion and sales metrics (and you should), the AI will benefit you.
I know some folks are shy about sharing data with Google. But, the more you can feed the Google AI, the more it can learn about what works and what doesn’t. So, share as much as you can.
Impact For Offline Conversion
For those whose revenue comes offline, there is a problem. A cost-per-lead is great until you realize that not all leads are created equal. Factors such as close rates, margins and even LTV are important when deciding where to focus your money.
Someone who types in “maroon” may submit a lead as often as someone who types in “red”. But what if “red” closes more often, or has a higher AOR?
We know these metrics because we can see what happens offline. We know that an exact match on “red” is worth a lot more than a fuzzy match on “maroon.” That is why we apply exact match. It’s more work to structure accounts this way. But, it pays off in the end.
What to do when there is no Exact match
The simple answer that Google provided, build out your negatives on all campaign and match types.
Given that Exact and Phrase are likely to behave the same way, you may just go with phrase match. (I wasn’t given clear guidance on the UI and if the pretense of Exact match type would even continue).
Build out your negatives and keep building them out. The query stream is your friend.
Be sure all broad matches are modified. Then keep an eye on the query stream to be sure the “fuzzy” matching isn’t happening there as well.
We have yet to see where this will end up. But, over the next few months keep a close eye on the query report, build out the negatives, and track as far down the sales process as you can. Depending on how far Google takes this, you may be better off with a single match type and an extensive negative build out.
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