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Posted on November 21, 2014

Importance of Broad Match Modified Keywords in PPC Management

Troy Stockinger
Troy Stockinger
Importance of Broad Match Modified Keywords in PPC Management
Troy Stockinger
Troy Stockinger
Posted on November 21, 2014

The Importance of Broad Match Modified Keywords:

Analyzing AdWords accounts for sales purposes is a common occurrence for PPC managers.  One of the easiest things we can do to save a prospective client’s money is reviewing a search term report.

Now we could run a report for the last 30, 60 or 90 but often that can take a lot of time to sift through hundreds or thousands of terms and when you are already busy managing current client accounts it is hard to justify the additional time spent to come up with 50+ prospective negative keywords.

I like to start with a week’s worth of data.  Depending on the size of the account, I can typically find a number of negative keywords that can typically save 15-25%.  It is almost like the Geico commercials!
This particular account review is for a criminal/divorce attorney on the east coast, in a city with a population less than 500K, so by no means a big city.

Here are the stats:

  • 3 Campaigns with solid structure
  • Each campaign had a minimum of 11 Ad Groups with the largest having over 30 active.
  • There were 560 active keywords
  • The account spent nearly $6500 in the previous month
  • And $1400 in the last 7 days
  • 63 clicks with an average CPC of $22.48
  • Roughly 3200 impressions.

The client has been happy with the account performance until recently when he started spending $500 every few days.

Time to Analyze!

With this info, the first thing I want to do from a sales perspective is see why he was spending so much.  The spend was reduced slightly in the last 7 days but not enough, according to the client. So where do we want to start?

Keyword Match Type Graph

The first couple of things I look at are the keywords and negative keywords.  To my surprise, there were over 200 negatives!  Not bad.  The other thing I noticed was the number of broad match type keywords, 293.  That is 52%!  159 were three words or less!

In my opinion, this is an open invitation for Google to spend your money.  Here is the proof:

I ran a search term report for the last 7 days (to save time) on only broad match keywords.
In 51 lines (49 clicks), here is what I found on the $1400 in spend:

  1. 10 queries did not include lawyer or attorney, total spend $79.03
  2. 3 Session Based queries 2 were for other lawyers in the area (only 1 was a competitor and is ignored); total spend $22.36 (the 3rd was a part of the non lawyer/attorney mentioned above (already counted)
  3. Two more terms were general lawyer keywords (no area of practice included) which means they could be searching for any type of lawyer. These should be avoided at all costs. Total spend $59.43.
  4. Two more terms were for queries outside the state $78.29.

Total amount wasted on broad match terms $239.11.  Nearly 17% of the total spend for that 1 week.

In just about 15 minutes, I found nearly $240 wasted in 7 days (about $34/day), we just saved this prospective client over $1000 over the course of 30 days.  That is worth the monthly management fee in and of itself.

There are additional benefits of moving to BMM terms:

  • Increase the CTR because you are coming up less on irrelevant searched
  • Increased CTR should mean improved quality score
  • Lowering the impressions share meaning their budget can be spend on maximizing for rank
  • More qualified traffic
  • Less time needs to be spent on search term report

It is not often, that clients will give PPC teams unlimited funds to drive leads or sales.  This case is no different.  Although the $6500 was not killing this firm, it wasn’t paying for itself and things needed to change.  I know, often in small markets the account will not spend if you do not have broad match keywords in the account but at the same time, there is a downside to getting irrelevant clicks.

At the end of the day, as ppc managers we have one responsibility and that is to manage the campaign as effectively as possible to ensure a positive return on the clients investment.  If that doesn’t happen, they are going to find someone that does.  And if taking a more conservative approach in managing the campaign is what it takes then that is what needs to be done.