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A few months ago, AdWords introduced upgraded location extensions that allow advertisers to pull addresses from their My Business account. Every time something “Upgraded” gets launched in Adwords, you can expect the old version to be retired eventually.

This is now happening with the original method of setting up location extensions manually. I first noticed the change when I logged into my account and had the warning that my location extensions were no longer running. After clicking through to the help page, I saw this message:

location_extension_update

With manual, or “not upgraded” location extensions you could type in the addresses you wanted to show with your campaigns. Now, you are going to be required to have a My Business account to use location extensions in AdWords.

How To Get Upgraded Location Extensions

1. Create a Google My Business (formerly Google Places) account. You can sign up for an account here: www.google.com/business

2. Link your Google My Business account to your AdWords account. From the Ad Extensions tab, select Location extensions from the drop down menu. Click and the red “+ Extension” button and you’ll be directed to log into your My Business account. upgraded location extensions

It will default to the email your are logged into AdWords with, but you can choose “use a different account” to sign into your My Business account.

3. Filter your My Business addresses. If you have more than one business address in your account, you can set a filter to only use certain addresses in AdWords. You set these filters using the business names or categories from your My Business account.

location extension filters

I haven’t found a specific date yet for when manual/”not upgraded” location extensions will be phased out, but better to prepare for upgraded location extensions now.

If you’d like to learn more about setting up ad extensions for your AdWords account, attend one of our upcoming AdWords trainings.

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Understanding keyword match types is necessary to run a successful AdWords campaign. Match types give you the power to control how relevant a search term needs to be to match your keyword and trigger your ad.

How Keyword Match Types Work

Every keyword you add to your account can be assigned one of four possible match types: broad, broad match modifier, phrase, or exact. You assign a match type by adding symbols to your keywords.

Let’s take a look at the symbols associated with each match type and how it affects the reach of your keywords. keyword match types

Broad Match

Broad match keywords will give you the widest reach, but the least relevance.

No additional symbols are required to set your keyword as broad; you just type it in as is. Broad match keywords will match to search terms that are misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and whatever AdWords considers to be relevant variations of your keyword. This means that your keywords do not have to be in the search term anywhere and your ad can still show.

Bike shop as a broad match keyword would match to any search terms that mentioned bikes, shop, or any synonyms or related terms as determined by Google.

Example bike shop matches: motorcycle store, cycle stores, mountain bike shops

Broad Match Modifier (BMM)

You set a BMM keyword by putting a plus sign in front of any or all words in your keyword. Any word with a + before it must be in the search term, or a close variant of that word. Note that you do not have to put a plus sign in front of every word in your keyword, only the words that have to be in the search term. I like to refer to this as partial or complete modified keywords.

If you add the BMM keyword +bike +shop to your account it will only match to search terms that contain both the word bike and the word shop, or close variants of bike and shop.  Order of the words does not matter. If you only partially modify the keyword as +bike shop, the search term just has to have the word bike, or close variant, in order to match your keyword.

Example +bike +shop matches: bike repair shop, shop for a bike

Example +bike shop matches: bike store, bike

Phrase Match

You set a Phrase match keyword by putting it in quotes. For a search term to match to a phrase match keyword, it must contain all the words (or close variants) in the keyword in the same order without any words in between. The search term can have other words before or after the phrase.

The phrase match keyword “bike shop” would only match to keywords that have the words bike shop right next to each other, without any terms in between. The search terms can have additional words before or after the phrase bike shop.

Example “bike shop” matches: local bike shop, bike shops in washington

Exact Match

Exact match keywords provide the lowest reach but highest relevance. Putting the keyword in brackets sets exact match keywords. Only search terms that exactly match the keywords will trigger your ad. This means all the words are present, in the same order, without any words before, after, or in between.

The exact match keyword [bike shop] will only match to search term bike shop, no additional words, or close variants.

Example [bike shop] matches: bike shop, bike shops

Close Variants

Now you’re probably wondering, what are these close variants you keep mentioning? Close variants of a keyword include any misspellings, plurals/singulars, stemmings, acronyms, abbreviations, and accents. What’s important to call out here is that close variants do not include synonyms.

match type close variants

Close variants will always match to broad and BMM keywords, but you can choose whether or not close variants match to your phrase and exact keywords. You can find this option in the Advanced Settings section under Keyword matching options. If you don’t see Advanced settings, make sure your campaign type is set to All features, not Standard.

adwords match type variants

By default, close variants are included for phrase and exact keywords. I recommend leaving close variants turned on because this means you won’t have to spend the time adding in all the possible stemmings, misspellings, etc. of your keyword in order for a search term to match.

Examples of ‘bike’ close variants: bikes, bikers, bicycle, bicycling,

Examples of ‘shop’ close variants: shops, shopping, shopper, shoppers

The Match Type Target

I like to think of keyword match types like a target. As you move down the match types the target audience gets smaller, but what you lose in reach you make up for in relevancy. Having an exact match is like hitting the bullseye, those people are searching for exactly the keyword you’re bidding on.

Take a look at a list of some of the search terms that would show for each match type of bike shops. Note that any out ring match types will also match the search terms in the inner rings. So a broad match of bike shop would match to all the search terms on the target.

match type target

*These words would not match to the phrase and exact match keywords if close variants was disabled.

That’s the rundown on AdWords keyword match types. If you’d like to learn more about keyword match types and creating a successful AdWords campaign, attend one of our live, hands-on trainings.

adwords training locations

Google AdWords is an amazing tool that enables you to drive qualified traffic to your site. You as an advertiser can target people who are actively looking for the product or service you provide. The number of options available within the interface can be overwhelming, especially to new advertisers.

AdWords has many default settings to make set up and management easier, but these default settings are set up to bring in more traffic, not necessarily better quality traffic. Knowing how these settings function will give you more power and control to target your ads and no doubt save you money in the process.

Network Targeting.  Default Setting: Search Network With Display Select

You should never, ever have one campaign targeting both the Search and Display networks. There are many reasons for this. Keywords behave differently, ad groups need to be structured differently, but the most important reason in my opinion is that these are two very different audiences. Consider this: searchers are actively looking for what you have to offer.  Individuals browsing web content on the Google Display Network are doing everything BUT looking for what you offer.  You don’t necessarily want to share budgets for these two very different audiences.

When you create a new campaign in the AdWords interface, the top option is Search Network with Display Select. If you create a campaign using AdWords Editor it automatically includes Search and Display, so you’ll need to disable one or the other.

AdWords Interface:                                                  AdWords Editor:

AW Interface   AW Editor

Although the AdWords interface says Search Network with Display Select is the “best” opportunity to reach the most people, quantity doesn’t always translate to quality. This is something I’ll repeat many times when it comes to AdWords settings.

Even the AdWords help section says “If you currently run Search and Display campaigns separately, we recommend you keep them separate for greater bidding, budgeting and targeting flexibility.” Now put your right hand in the air and repeat after me: “I will always have separate campaigns targeting Search and Display.”

Campaign Type. Default Setting: Standard

Every time you create a campaign in AdWords, you have the option to select the campaign type. The type you choose doesn’t affect how your campaign performs, but it changes the campaign setting options visible on the page.  By default the setting is ‘Standard’ which eliminates some campaign settings that aren’t necessary but can be extremely important in making sure your campaign is targeted correctly.

Campaign Type

What are some of the settings it eliminates? ‘Advanced location targeting’, which can completely change the audience your ads are showing to and it eliminates advanced settings that control the time of day your ads show, ad rotation, and how search terms match to your keywords.

These settings are far too important to ignore when creating a campaign. You’ll want to switch to the “All features” campaign type so you maintain the most control over your ads.

Search Network Targeting. Default Setting: Google Search and Search Partners

Now that we’ve covered the importance of keeping Search and Display netwrk campaigns separate, did you realize that you can specify how to target the Search Network? You have the following options:

  • Google Search: Google owned and operated search sites and Google Shopping
  • Search Partners: AOL.com, Ask.com and sites in which search is enhanced by Google.

By default, you will target both but you have the option to opt out of Search Partners.

Search Network

We typically launch campaigns targeting both Google Search and Search Partners. I recommend to let it run for a month or two and then compare performance by across the two networks. If Search Partners bring in conversions at similar or lower CPA compared to Google Search, leave it on. If not, turn it off and put that budget toward Google Search only.

Device Targeting. Default Setting: Desktops, Tablets, and Mobile.

Last year Google made the move to Enhanced Campaigns, no longer allowing advertisers to create separate campaigns targeting different devices. All search campaigns now must target desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.  Still we have the abilty to set a Mobile bid adjustment from -100% to +900%.

By default, your mobile bid adjustment is set at 0%, leaving bids equal across all three devices. I’ve yet to encounter an account where mobile performance is equal to desktop/tablet.

If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, set the bid adjustment at -100%. If your site IS mobile optimized, consider reviewing past device-level performance in a tool like Google Analytics before setting your mobile bid adjustment.

Device Category

Location Targeting. Default Setting: People in, looking for, or viewing pages about my target location.

It’s important to point out that this is a setting that is not visible if one leaves the campaign-type set to ‘Standard’ instead of ‘All features.’ When choosing a location target for your campaign you may assume your ad will only show to people in the locations you choose. By default, this is not correct. Your ad will actually be visible to searchers both in the specific locations or people looking for information about your targeted locations.

For example, let’s say you sell and ship running shoes within the United States so you set your campaign to target the US. Makes sense right? By default your ad can show to anyone in the US who is search for running shoes, or to anyone globally searching for ‘running shoes’ and including the term ‘US.’  Additionally, the ad may be visible if searchers include the name of any geographic area WITHIN the US. You could be paying for clicks to searchers you can’t even send products to!

If you only wish to be visible to searchers within your selected location, you’ll have to change this default setting.  Make sure your campaign is set to ‘All features’ and then click on ‘Location options (advanced).’

Location Types

Ad Rotation. Default Setting: Optimize for clicks.

As you may have noticed, AdWords likes to get you clicks. Another default setting designed to increase clicks on your ads is the default ad rotation setting, ‘Optimize for clicks.’ This setting works by evenly rotating ads within an ad group. Once one ad starts to have a significantly higher click-through rate AdWords will ‘favor’ this ad and serve it more often.

Ad Rotation

This may sound like a good thing, but a higher CTR doesn’t always lead to better performance. For example: If I ran two ads for our Cardinal Path AdWords training; one that said “Free AdWords Training,” and another that said “AdWords Training $499/day,” the one that says “free” will likely get more clicks. But once searchers reach our site and notice our training is not free they will not likely convert. This is why we don’t solely focus on CTR as an indicator of success. You could be paying for an ad that is great at attracting people to your site but not as great at driving conversions.

Keyword Match Type. Default Setting: Broad Match

When you enter in a keyword to target, there are different formatting options you can choose that will determine the match type of that keyword.  Utilizing different match types has a very dramatic effect on the volume of search traffic your ad will receive. Broad match will have the widest reach, attracting the highest quantity of traffic while exact match only triggers your ad when a searcher types exactly your bidded keyword.

What happens when you add a keyword without additional formatting into AdWords? It defaults to broad. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see when evaluating accounts: all keywords are broad because marketers don’t realize that newly entered keywords will default to broad match.  This can have a devastating effect on ad spend as you’re likely to be wasting money on irrelevant clicks.

Negative Keyword Match Type. Default Setting: Exact match to the ad group level when added from the Search Term report.

The Search Term report is one the most valuable within AdWords because you can see exactly the search query that triggered your ads. This allows you the flexibility to either mine for new keyword opportunities or block potential irrelevant terms.

When you discover a query you wish to block and select ‘Add as negative,’ AdWords will set this negative term to exact match within the same ad group by default.

Negative Keywords

This is the most limiting level and will block the least amount of traffic, and here’s why: First, adding it to the ad group level will only block it for the keywords in that ad group. Consider adding at the campaign level or to a negative keyword list to maximize result.

Secondly, exact match negatives miss out on blocking plurals, stemmings, misspellings or other close variants.  Instead, add terms as broad match so that any inclusion of the negative keyword in queries will not serve your ads.

For example, if you have a hotel in the Bahamas and someone searches for ‘cruise around the bahamas’ don’t enter that as one exact negative. We don’t do cruises, so that’s what I want to block. Adding ‘cruise’ as a broad match negative will exclude any search terms where someone includes the word cruise and will make optimizing your account quicker and more effective.

Conclusion

Be wary of AdWords default settings. Though very helpful in driving traffic, it’s up to you to make sure this is VALUABLE traffic. All of these settings can seem overwhelming at first, but you need to understand how they function in order to run a successful AdWords campaign.

Related Resources

Learn how Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries, changed its Google AdWords campaign strategy to achieve a tenfold increase in site visitors within 14 months: read the case study.

Are you getting the most out of your AdWords budget?  Boost your performance with an audit from Cardinal Path: download our Search Engine Marketing Audit solution sheet to learn more.

Source: iStock Photo
Source: iStock Photo

By now most organizations buy in to the fact that data is one of their most valuable assets and that they should be making their business decisions based upon insights they derive from it.  It sure helps when you present data to stakeholders in a format that they can both understand and appreciate.

Data visualization tools, or dashboards as they are often called, can simply present data in a colorful and easy-to-understand format or they can be sophisticated analytics tools unto themselves, allowing users to manipulate the data in order to get answers to deeper questions. Some tools are simple graphical representations of the business data and others border on artistic.

Either way, if your end goal is to communicate information across a broad range of stakeholders and spark the kinds of conversations that can help create a competitive advantage, data visualization tools can be a huge asset to your organization.

Join us for a free webinar to get an overview of data visualization solutions and learn how they can prove to be one of your most powerful tools to unlock the value in your organization’s data.

Register now! Webinar: Practical Guide to Dashboards for Digital Channels

Exercise bike pedal straps.

These are the keywords that started it all. I was writing an ad for a product, and really wanted the keyword in the headline as this practice leads to the highest boost in CTR. Unfortunately exercise bike pedal straps is 26 characters long, just one over the 25 character limit.

I couldn’t figure out how to make the best headline. Any other combination of terms didn’t make sense. Take out the word “exercise” your ad would refer to pedal straps for any type of bike. Take out the word “straps” and it looks as though you are selling pedals. Use  the word “strap” instead and now you are selling just one. I needed to make the ad reflect the keywords as much as possible to increase CTR and improve Quality Score.

I decided to Google the term myself and see how other ads fared. To my surprise, plenty of ads had the title “Exercise Bike Pedal Straps” and one even said “Buy Exercise Bike Pedal Straps” – 30 characters! How was this possible?

The answer was simpler than I ever thought: DKI. I had used dynamic keyword insertion frequently, but always assumed if a keyword would make the headline longer than 25 characters, AdWords would use the default text. But you know what they say about assuming… so I tried it out and it worked! I was now achieving headlines longer than the 25 character limit. Other AdWords account managers I have since spoken with have seen headlines over 32 characters.

Using the following ad that appeared on Google as an example, you can see this technique will work with other parts of the ad as well.

Exercise Bike Pedal Straps

*This ad is just an example and not from one of our client accounts.

So, if you’re trying to write an ad and you have the perfect headline but it exceeds 25 characters, use DKI. You will need to make sure your default text still remains within the limits, but once you’ve done this you will be able to reap the rewards from a headline that matches your ad brilliantly, even if it exceeds the 25 character restriction.

Want to learn more pro secret tips? Sign up now to attend our AdWords 201 training.

Paid Search

AdWords Retiring Manual Location Extensions

A few months ago, AdWords introduced upgraded location extensions that allow advertisers to pull addresses from their My Business account. Every time something “Upgraded” gets launched in Adwords, you can expect the old version to be retired eventually. This is now happening with the original method of setting up location extensions manually. I first noticed the … Read Full Post

AdWords Keyword Match Types

target

Understanding keyword match types is necessary to run a successful AdWords campaign. Match types give you the power to control how relevant a search term needs to be to match your keyword and trigger your ad. How Keyword Match Types Work Every keyword you add to your account can be assigned one of four possible … Read Full Post

AdWords Default Settings That Are Wasting Your Money

Google AdWords is an amazing tool that enables you to drive qualified traffic to your site. You as an advertiser can target people who are actively looking for the product or service you provide. The number of options available within the interface can be overwhelming, especially to new advertisers. AdWords has many default settings to … Read Full Post

Data Visualization: Enabling data-driven business discussions

Cardinal Path blog post

By now most organizations buy in to the fact that data is one of their most valuable assets and that they should be making their business decisions based upon insights they derive from it.  It sure helps when you present data to stakeholders in a format that they can both understand and appreciate. Data visualization … Read Full Post

Pro Secrets: Beat The AdWords Character Limit – How to Get an Ad Headline to Exceed 25 Characters

Cardinal Path blog post

Exercise bike pedal straps. These are the keywords that started it all. I was writing an ad for a product, and really wanted the keyword in the headline as this practice leads to the highest boost in CTR. Unfortunately exercise bike pedal straps is 26 characters long, just one over the 25 character limit. I … Read Full Post

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See how your marketing analytics performs against thousands of organizations. (Approx. 5 minutes).