At the end of 2018, Google turned the SEM industry on its head by once again changing the definition of its exact match keyword targeting. The definitions and performance by match type have historically dictated campaign structure for many across the SEM industry, GCommerce included. Google’s 3rd and most recent change to exact match forced paid search marketers to reexamine their account structures and best practices. When we did, we found an incredible opportunity to reinvent our paid search account structure to drive substantial improvements in performance for our clients. Read below to find out how we did it.
A Quick History of Google’s Keyword Match Type Definitions
To set the stage, let’s take a quick look back over the evolution of Google’s exact match keyword targeting definitions.
Pre-2014: Exact Match means the searcher has to type your keyword in exactly as you have it written in order for the search to trigger your ad.
Search = luxury hotel in park city Keyword = luxury hotel in park city
2014: Google updates its exact match keyword definition to allow your ad to trigger for the exact spelling of your keyword PLUS plurals and misspellings
Search = luxury hotels in park city Keyword = luxury hotel in park city
2017: Google updates its exact match keyword definition again to trigger your ad for the exact phrase or misspellings and plurals OR different word order and function words
Here are two great tables from Search Engine Land’s article to help explain:
What Do These Changes Mean For My Hotel’s Google Ads Account Structure?
But, what does this all mean for paid search optimization and account structure? Separating campaigns by match type used to mean we had more control of where to funnel our ad dollars based on what keywords and match types were performing the best. We found that with Google’s latest updates to match type definitions, if we had the same keyword with a different match type located in different ad groups within the account, they would now compete with each other. The theory became, if we restructured our accounts to keep all keywords (of all match types) within the same ad group, we should see lower CPCs which in turn would drive more traffic, more conversions, and higher ROAS. We tested the theory across a sampling of our hotel client Google Ads accounts.
Results of Our Hotels’ Google Ads Restructure Tests Based On Match Types
Let’s dive into the test results. On average this is what resulted from the changes we made in account structure based on the new keyword match type definitions:
- CPCs declined by 30%
- ROAS increased by 123%
This meant our paid search campaigns were able to drive 80% more revenue on average for our hotel clients across the sample set of test accounts. After reviewing the results, we rolled out the change across all of our hotel Google Ads accounts and continued to see outstanding results across the board.
It’s important to always keep an eye out for announcements from Google Ads and make sure you’re testing, restructuring, and updating your accounts based on what provides the best results. If your agency isn’t constantly evolving your campaigns based on changes within the platform and your industry then you risk wasting budget and sacrificing performance. Have questions about how we can help your hotel launch or test this new account structure? Please reach out to one of our hotel digital marketing experts today.