Google announced another round of updates to how close variants will work.
Queries with the same meaning could already trigger ads for exact match keywords as of September 2018. But now, close variants with the same meaning may also affect phrase and broad match modified keywords.
Google expects advertisers to see around a 3 to 4% lift in clicks and impressions on the affected keywords with 85% of those being incremental for the account.
Because advertisers’ ads may now trigger for a broader variety of queries, I recommend three actions to ensure your account is well-positioned to take advantage of the incremental leads while reducing exposure to risks from less relevant queries.
1. Automate Bidding so Low-Quality Close Variants Won’t Overspend
When your ad starts appearing for new close variants of your keywords, don’t pay more than you should for this new traffic.
Close variants introduce a new layer of complexity to bid management so it’s a good reason to evaluate whether your bidding strategy is still the best one.
I’ve made the case before and I’ll say it again: nobody should be managing bids manually.
This is another nail in the coffin for manual bid management.
Simply put, with the level of complexity involved with targeting and bidding, it’s near-impossible for a person to manage bids manually and do it as well as an automated system.
The current round of changes to close variants may not require you to change how you manage accounts. However, it may amplify the potential downside if you aren’t already carefully managing queries.
There is no longer a match type that allows total control over the exact words that must be in the query for an ad to show. So keyword bids now apply to potentially tens or hundreds of variations of that keyword.
Regardless of how closely the query is related to the keyword, the manual bid is taken from the keyword, and a highly relevant query will get the same bid as a much less relevant one.
This is bad if you care about conversions, CPA, ROAS, and profitability.
What advertisers need to achieve the best results is the tightest level of control possible. In this case, the ability to factor in each unique query in every auction to determine the correct bid.
But only Google can set auction-time bids, meaning they are the only ones who can factor in the specific circumstances of a search, including the query, at the time they match an advertiser’s ad to the query.
This means that only Google can appropriately increase or decrease the bid to help the advertiser reach their CPA or ROAS goal based on the expected conversion rate and conversion value that their machine learning system predicts for the auction.
Because auction-time bidding is the exclusive domain of ‘Smart Bidding, which includes the Target CPA and Target ROAS automated bid strategies from Google, the only way to set the right bids for close variants is to use these tools.
My company, Optmyzr, recently created a handy table showing all the various bid automations from Google and how they interact with bid adjustments. – Read more