When you are entering keywords into your Google AdWords campaigns, you have choices as to how AdWords interprets those keywords to show your ads. These choices can have a dramatic effect upon the success or failure of your advertising campaigns.
Make the right choices and you can see lots of traffic and orders. Make the wrong choices and you might see little or no traffic, or worse yet, lots of paid traffic but few if any sales.
There are horror stories of hopeful entrepreneurs who have wasted hundreds or even thousands of dollars with pay per click advertising, with little or nothing to show for the effort and money they have expended. Do not put yourself in such a position by not understanding the keyword matching options.
There are three types of keyword matching settings you can specify for your advertising campaigns. Each of the settings comes with its own unique set of features of operation.
This is the default setting and if you just enter your keywords as is, this is the keyword match setting that will be used for displaying your ads. Broad match will trigger your ad to be displayed whenever your keywords appear anywhere within the search query.
For example, if you are targeting the key phrase video games, your ad would be shown anytime the search query contains those words, in any order, even if additional words are in the query. Under the broad match, even someone who searches for the phrase video free games, will trigger your ad to be displayed. If you are trying to sell video games, you probably do not want clicks like this. You will be paying for clicks that are not likely to be worthwhile for your business.
Using the broad match setting will very likely get you the highest number of clicks, but you will also be subject to getting the least targeted clicks. Be careful when using broad match, you could easily blow your entire advertising budget on clicks that dont produce sales.
However, there may be certain cases where you actually want lots of clicks, even if it does not mean an immediate sale. For example, if you are giving away a free ebook or report to build your mailing list, the broad match option may indeed be your best choice.
By placing quotation marks around your key phrases, like this video games, you will be selecting the phrase match option. This option will trigger the display of your ad by any query that has those exact words in that exact order.
Searches for free video games, download video games, video games cheats or design video games would all trigger your ad, but free games video or cheat games video would not trigger your ad.
Phrase match will generally bring you less traffic than broad match, but the traffic you do get will be more targeted.
You select the exact match option by placing square brackets around your key phrases, like this video games. By using the exact match, your ad will only be triggered when the search query contains your exact key phrase and only your exact key phrase, in exact order.
In this example, your ad would be displayed with the search query video games. If someone searches for free video games or even video game instead of video games, your ad will not show. The match has to be exact.
The exact match option will usually generate the fewest clicks, but the resulting traffic will be the most targeted of all the key phrase matching options.
Which Matching Option is Right For You?
It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are giving away a free sample or report and you want to get as many clicks as possible, use the broad match option. If you are in a highly competitive and therefore costly business, you will probably want to go with the exact match option. If you want to play the middle ground, you can try the phrase match option.