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  • Posted on 15 August 2014

Google: Close Variant Keyword Matching Becomes Compulsory

Yesterday Google announced that at the end of September 2014, the close variant keyword matching will be automatically enabled for every campaign and advertisers will no longer be able to opt out.

What are ‘Close Variants’?

In 2012, to broaden coverage of keywords in exact and phrase match, Google launched the ‘close variants’, meaning that keywords in exact match type, which previously covered only searches for those exact terms, started also covering searches for close variations e.g. misspellings, plurals etc.

For example, if someone was searching for ‘trainer deals’ on Google and the advertiser was targeting the keyword [trainer deal] (without the plural) and opted in ‘close variants’, the ad would be triggered and visible to the user regardless.

What does this mean for advertisers?

According to Google, at least 7% of search queries contain misspellings, which mean this change will in some shape or form have an impact on advertiser’s accounts.

For those advertisers that have already adopted close variants (which is the default option), nothing will change in terms of reach and click volumes. For those that relied on the BMM or Broad Match to capture those additional variations and opted out of the close variant option in the campaigns targeting keywords in exact match type, they will see an increase in volume coming from campaigns with keywords in exact match type. This should not be significant, but still an increase can be expected (especially for those advertisers relying on Broad Match Modifier to target variations and misspellings with the aim not to compromise on relevancy).

What should advertisers do?

We believe there is not going to be an impact on quality score and if the misspells/variations of the keywords are added to the campaigns through regular SQRs, they will not be picked up by a keyword in BMM in a different campaign/ad group for example, which also covers misspells and other variations. This means that there is not going to be an overlap between the BMM and the Near Exact/Phrase keywords and therefore issues with entering the same auction with more than one keyword (causing CPCs to rise).

Our approach here at NetBooster is to include as many relevant and sensible keywords as possible to the account to ensure that there is full control on bid management (based on performance) and reporting (to identify further opportunities). The change will allow us to focus on adding negative keywords to better shape traffic , reduce cost and potentially deliver a better ad experience to online users and healthier ROI for our clients.

Posted by Sergio Borzillo (Head of PPC UK)