Google AdWords Exact Match No Longer Exact

Google AdWords Exact Match Changes 2017

AdWords will now ignore word orders and function words.

In the name of getting more clicks, Google is re-purposing exact match into something that’s not exactly, exact.

The Google Announcement states

Close variants now connects more people with what they’re looking for

Google is making your life easier it seems, so that you have less to manage on your AdWords account.

Whether someone is searching for “running shoes” or “shoes for running,” what they want remains the same; they’re looking for running shoes.

In theory, Google’s idea here is to generate more “qualified” clicks, and that is certainly a brilliant idea. However, when you start counting every conversion and every cost per conversion, its not that simple.

Google claims there is virtually no difference as their “early tests” show that advertisers would see up to 3% more exact clicks match (obviously) while keeping nearly the same click-through (CTR) and conversion rates.

The gritty details

First, function words will be ignored and reworded as needed. Function words are

  • Prepositions (to, in)
  • Conjunctions (for, but)
  • Articles (a, the)

What will happen is that these words will be added, removed, or changed when there is no impact behind the actual query.

For example, the “in” in “hotels in new york” can be safely ignored because it doesn’t affect the meaning. However, the “to” in “flights to new york” would not be ignored, because a “flight from new york” is not the same as a “flight to new york.”

Google AdWords Exact Match Changes 2017

Neat! But there’s more. AdWords will now able to take an entire query and re-order the words, which means the words are the same, they are just moved around.

For example, “buy new cars” and “new cars buy.”

Google AdWords Exact Match Changes 2017

Essentially, you will no longer have to maintain lists of re-worded and re-ordered exact match keywords. If you don’t like this idea, there’s always “phrase match” which is not effected in this Google update.

For large campaigns, this can be a bit of a pain, and in some cases may require a reset of the keywords. Just make sure you fully understand how Google AdWords will treat the words so that you don’t get the query sets that you don’t want in your campaign.


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