The skills we teach deliver real ROI.

How I Wasted $25K a Month on Broad Match Keywords in Google AdWords

Google AdWordsEvery blog post you read, every class you take and every YouTube video you watch will tell you that when you’re starting a new AdWords campaign, you should start with mostly or all Broad Match keywords. Broad Match is the keyword setting in Google Analytics that allows your ad to show when someone searches for that keyword or any variation of it. This includes singular or plural forms, stemmings, synonyms, misspellings, related searches and relevant variations.

Google states that using broad match keywords “maximizes potential to show your ads on relevant searches.” It shows your ad to a much wider audience since the broader the keyword matching option the more traffic potential the keyword has. This is very true, but it also means that it is the most expensive match type providing the least qualified leads. If the sole purpose of your AdWords campaign is brand awareness, then the broad match keyword match type might actually be the better option for you. But if your purpose is to generate qualified leads resulting in sales, be prepared to waste a lot of money.

For months, even years, I used lists with a large percentage of broad match keywords. Traffic to my website was increasing and a majority percentage of it was due to these paid AdWords campaigns. However, I was perplexed because this traffic wasn’t converting. I was spending upwards of $25,000 a month on AdWords campaigns and was only seeing an average $5,000 return. My broad match keywords had a high click-through-rate, so what was the problem? The deeper I dug into my analytics, I realized that a majority of this CPC traffic was spending less than 30 seconds on my landing pages.

After combing through my Keyword Report, I decided to focus a majority of my campaigns on exact match types. I didn’t get rid of broad match altogether, however,  I did convert them all to use a broad match modifier.  A broad match modifier allows your keyword to show for search queries containing close variations (in any order) but not synonyms. For instance, if your keyword was +Google+AdWords+Training (the + symbol denotes that is a broad match modifier) your ad might show for the query training on Google AdWords or free Google AdWords Training but it will not show for Google AdWords Seminar or Conferences on Google AdWords. By using the broad match modifier I have added an additional level of control and increased the relevancy of my keywords to the possible search queries. Note that the broad match modifier does not work for any other match type.

A broad match modifier won’t eliminate unqualified leads altogether. You will still need to pay close attention to your keyword report to monitor the actual search queries that are triggering your ads. If you see terms that you don’t want triggering your ad (and you don’t want to pay for), make sure you’re adding those to your list of negative keywords. Once you determine which keywords are leading to the most sales, you’ll want to switch those keywords to the Exact Match match type. If someone clicks on your ad that was triggered by an exact match keyword, it is more likely that that click will result in a sale.

Google AdWords can be extremely confusing and frustrating since it is constantly changing and adding program updates. Although the Broad Match Modifier was released back in 2010, a lot of marketers are just now learning how to use it. Imagine the number of program updates that have been released since then that will allow you to be more efficient and effective with your AdWords campaigns. Don’t make the same mistake I did and get the training you need to avoid wasting $25K a month on unqualified traffic. I have the privilege now of working for a company that offers an unrivaled 3-day, hands-on Google AdWords training course.  Not only will you learn how to achieve higher return on investment, but you’ll have the ability to prepare for and pass the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam in class on the last day. Don’t waste any more time or money, register now!

Leave a reply