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Google AdWords and Close Variant Match Types

At the end of September, Google AdWords started to change the way that exact match and phrase matched words could be targeted, so that the disable option is being phased out and so all match types are now served up with the ‘variation’ or ‘near’ match option as standard. However, savvy AdWords proponents and managers throughout the industry have strongly disagreed with this decision, as it will place limits on the targeting levels of keyword campaigns.

Google says the reason for introducing this change is because ‘people aren’t perfect spellers or typists’ and ‘at least 7% of Google searches contain a misspelling’. So ‘the relative search result will be provided even if what the User typed isn’t perfect’.

The option to disable these close variants was removed, so exact and phrase match keywords are now matching to close keyword variations (commonly misspellings, singulars, plurals, etc), which Google says ‘allows you to reach more of your potential customers with the right ad’. You can read more about this on the Google AdWords Blog.

The key point about this is that advertisers are slowly losing control over their ads. Variation match isn’t always bad and there are times it can be good to use variation match. However, there was previously a choice, which no longer remains. It’s this that has infuriated the industry as this change, together with previous recent others to AdWords, are further eroding the ability to control costs and conversions within AdWords.

The beauty of exact and phrase match (without close variants) was that users could guarantee that a searcher used a specific phrase that triggered an ad. In this new all-variant ecosystem, this isn’t the case.

A positive aspect of this change however, is that with voice and mobile search, it’ll be more likely to catch those conversions that hadn’t been caught before. Overall though, the Pay-Per-Click market isn’t happy with this change, as the opinion is that the most realistic reason for the removal of the ability to turn off this option is to further increase AdWords’ profitability.

If you want to know more about how the end of ‘pure’ exact match keywords can influence your businesses’ results through AdWords, contact us now.