Things have changed in the world of PPC. Google’s keyword matching criteria is broader than ever before, but the machine learning algorithm is much better suited to deal with larger volumes of data. So, if you haven’t already, then it could be time review your account structure and make sure that it’s designed and set up to work optimally in 2022.

To begin with, of course, you should make sure that your campaign structure reflects your online marketing goals. So, for instance, if you are an ecommerce store, you’ll most likely want a campaign for each of your main product lines. This way you can manage your ad spend effectively and ensure that your advertising budget gets allocated appropriately towards promoting the products that generate the highest profits. Essentially, your campaign structure should make sense from a budget management and business goals point of view.

Improvements in the Google Ads’ machine learning algorithm mean that it can make more effective decisions about what ad to show to whom, with larger amounts of data. So, the recommendation from Google to take advantage of this is to use a less granular approach and push more search data through fewer Ad Groups which should translate into faster learning time and improved results.

After recent changes to Google’s matching criteria, keywords will now match to a broader range of search terms. Exact match once meant that a keyword had to be exactly the same as a search query to trigger an ad, but now words in a search query just have to mean the same thing as the keyword to trigger an ad. So, for example, ‘guy’s sneakers’ and ‘men’s trainers’ would both trigger a keyword for ‘men’s sneakers’.

Phrase match previously meant that a keyword would be triggered if the search query had the words in the same order, however phrase match now includes words with similar meanings and word order doesn’t matter, so in effect phrase match operates more like broad match modifier keywords. Broad match is still the loosest matching type and will trigger ads for searches that are related to the keyword.

(Image source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7478529?hl=en)

Before the most recent changes to keyword match types and machine learning improvements, it made sense to split your campaign structure to have an exact match campaign, phrase match, and broad match. With exact match you could control spend and ad exposure for your core terms, and use wider matching campaigns such as phrase and broad that would function to capture long-tail searches and harvest search terms that could be added to the exact match campaign if they proved profitable, or blocked as a negative keyword if they proved irrelevant.

However, due to the machine learning improvements and keyword matching criteria changes, it no longer makes sense to have such a granular hierarchical structure. The main benefits of strictly controlling which search terms triggered which keyword don’t exist to the same extent anymore, so it makes sense to group keywords together in a way that can take advantage of improved machine learning.

This means structuring ad groups based on themes that supports your business goals. These could be products, landing page, ad messaging, or anything else that makes senses to your business. It also means placing exact, phrase, and possibly even broad match (depending on how wide you want to go) keywords together in the same ad groups. If there is a similar enough user intent, e.g. people who want to buy the same product, then you should group these keywords together.

You may, however, still want to retain a greater element of control over some keywords, particularly for very high traffic keywords, such as core brand terms. The option here would be to isolate important search terms by creating exact match keywords and keeping them in their own ad groups, but still have exact match and phrase in the same campaign.

In order to effectively work with the new, broader keyword matching criteria, and take advantage of machine learning developments, you should be sending a larger set of search terms through a narrower set of Ad Groups. You can do this by grouping keywords together based on themes and combining exact and phrase match together in the same Ad Group. If very high traffic or particularly important search terms need to be isolated, then these should be included in their own exact match keyword Ad Group.

So, one to bear in mind when you’re creating your next Google Ad’s account, or if you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your current accounts.

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