Making Broad Match Keywords Work for PPC (at a fraction of the cost)

Broad match keywords can drive a cheaper cost per click for your Google Ad campaigns. The quality of traffic driven to your site from broad match keywords can also be greatly improved.

I’m sure you’re shaking your head because you’ve heard that broad match keywords don’t work. You’ve read an article that states that phrase match, exact match and broad match modifier will outperform broad. An excerpt from this Search Engine Land article stated that, “when Broad match went up against Exact match, it lost big time!” A lot of people are scared to dabble with broad match after reading headlines like the above mentioned one. 

If you oversee your broad match campaigns properly, you can make broad match keywords work for your business. 

When to use broad match

  • If you’re struggling with search volume and you can’t hit your daily budget 
  • If you’re looking to drive very long tailed search queries to your site 
  • If you’re looking for a cheaper cost per click 
  • If you’re search term is very specific in nature 
  • If you’re in the research phase and trying to gather information about how people are getting to your website and/or what search terms convert the best so you can hone in on those top converters

Examples of broad match working

Our agency also has an in-house eCommerce brand, DermWarehouse. Broad match has been one of our top performing PPC campaigns. An example of a keyword that this works well for is “Jan Marini Bioglycolic Cleanser.” As stated above, it’s a long tail query and very specific nature. It drives a lower cost per click and converts better than when we bid on similar keywords using phrase match, exact match and broad match modifier.

In theory, this makes sense. When you need to drive traffic to your site for something very specific that’s more than 3-4 words, when you bid using phrase match, exact or broad match modifier, it’s tough to match that long of a query, which is where broad match comes into play.

If we were to just bid on “Glycolic Cleanser” our conversion rate would not be nearly as good because it’s more broad of a search. People are in the market for Jan Marini (the brand) and Bioglycolic Cleanser (the product name). They know exactly what they want and are not just doing research on other Glycolic cleansers.

Let’s take our digital marketing agency for example. We’re based in Columbus, Ohio. An example of a good broad match keyword to bid on would be, “Columbus Digital Marketing Agency.” An example of a bad keyword would be, “Digital Marketing.” If you just bid on “Digital Marketing” this could be for digital marketing classes or how to get started with digital marketing. Columbus Digital Marketing Agency is providing Google information on the market you’re targeting (Columbus, in this example) and the intent of what the user is searching for (an agency). 

Another example of broad match keywords working is if you don’t have the search volume to hit your daily budget. We have a client that sells a pooper scooper (someone has to do it, right?). While there are people that do search for dog waste removal services and other similar keywords, a lot of times, people do a more broad based search, like, “how to avoid dog poop on the lawn.” Even though this person is earlier in the funnel, if you are targeting an ad towards them in the location you service, this can help you not only hit your budget but lead to conversions. 

Tips for Using Broad Match 

  • Make sure to go long-tail 
    • We recommend a minimum of 3 words 
      • The longer tailed phrases you include, the more you’re giving Google to work with. 
  • Monitor your search terms like a hawk 
    • Bidding on broad match keywords is not a set it and forget it type of strategy. You’ll need to monitor your search terms like a hawk and add negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups. This is exactly what we offer with our PPC services for clients who can’t handle this ongoing initiative in-house. Even if you are bidding on longer tailed keywords, there can still be terrible search terms that trickle through. We have a general rule of thumb that in order for broad match to be successful, the search terms have to be above 90% quality. Another tip is to leverage your client for insight into the search terms. A lot of businesses and industries are complex and marketers and PPC experts may not know whether or not a search term is of quality. When you have an industry expert help with search terms, you are going to improve the quality of your account. 
  • Keep your ad groups simple 
    • We don’t recommend going above 5 broad match keywords within each ad group. You want to keep your keywords tight with broad match so you can determine the winners and losers and make adjustments from there. Of course, the keywords should align with the ad copy, which is a best PPC practice. 
  • There are other options 
    • We love testing different match types with our PPC campaigns. There’s a good chance broad, phrase or broad match modifier could outperform broad. There’s also dynamic search ads, which also do a great job of driving longer tailed queries to your site, especially for eCommerce. 

What we Love About Broad Match Keywords 

There are so many ways someone can find your business. Google says 15% of its daily searches are new [source]. This means there are a million ways someone can search to find your business. Broad match allows you to see searches you could have never done before using exact match or phrase match.

We love looking into the search terms and using some long-tailed searches as blog topics to write about for our agency, for our eCommerce brand and for our clients. It also provides us with other relevant queries to bid on via PPC based on what’s converted. 

It should be noted that Google has stated to allow exact match keywords to match to close variants. This means Google can take similar keywords to what you’re bidding on when using exact or phrase and still showcase your advertisement [source]. This further exemplifies why it’s so important to monitor search terms, whether in your broad campaigns and others. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t count on broad match being your saving grace for PPC. Like any marketing initiative, it’s good to be diversified. Broad match adds diversity to your PPC portfolio and you could become pleasantly surprised with the results.

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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