Exact Match - Learn More About the Exact Matching Option

exact match in Google AdWords

Exact match is a matching option offered by Google AdWords. In this tutorial, you'll learn:

So What is the Definition of an Exact Match Query, Anyway?

Exact match is a Google AdWords match type which allows you to show your ad only when a searcher types the exact word or phrase you signify in your account. An exact match keyword in Google AdWords ad will only trigger on an exact match search. Google describes the matching option thusly:

Exact Match - If you surround your keywords in brackets - such as [tennis shoes] - your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase tennis shoes, in this order, and without any other terms in the query. For example, your ad wouldn't show for the query red tennis shoes or tennis shoe. Exact match is the most targeted option. Although you won't receive as many impressions with exact match, you'll likely enjoy the most targeted clicks - users searching for your exact keyword typically want precisely what your business has to offer.

The Importance of the Exact Matching Option

So why is this important?

Because there is a central flaw with the more "expansive" matching options (broad and phrase):

Broad and phrase match will show your ad against queries you don't want to advertise on.

  • Broad Match - This option and expanded broad match will show your ad against tennis shoe variations and anything Google deems "relevant".
  • Phrase Match - This option will show your ad only against keywords that contain "tennis shoes" in that exact order (best tennis shoes, tennis shoes that are popular, but not tennis shoe or shoes tennis).

Let's take a look at some of the queries our "tennis shoes" keyword may show against using broad match:

Exact match offers more precision, but misses a lot of traffic.

Obviously a LOT of these are pretty useless for our tennis shoes offer. We aren't selling basketball shoes, or designer shoes, or even tennis racquets: we're selling tennis shoes!

And phrase match isn't much better:

The exact matching option is more precise than some phrase matching options, which are pictured.

What if we sell high-end, expensive tennis shoes? We don't want to advertise against "discount tennis shoes". And what if someone types "discount tennis shoes?"

So Exact Match is Better than Phrase Match and Broad Match, Right?

Not so fast! When you're advertising on Google, exact match has its probems too.

Matching only against tennis shoes is great. But what about "men's tennis shoes"? We probably sell those.

And better yet: what about "buy tennis shoes"? That searcher is actively looking for a pair of tennis shoes to buy!

The truth is, there is no end to this list of keywords we may want to run our ad against. Take a look at this image:

What is the problem with exact match? Ignoring the long tail, as pictured.

This is a graphical representation of a principal known as the long tail of search. Basically, this principal highlights the fact that most of the traffic you recieve through search is from users who have typed a longer query.

If you use exact match, you're missing out on most of the traffic!

So what's the Matching Option answer?

OK so none of these keyword match types are ideal:

  • Broad & Phrase Match - These pull in too many useless queries (and phrase match doesn't capture enough of the long tail).
  • Exact Match - This causes us to miss ALL of the long tail!

What we really need is a solution that captures all those variations we want, while weeding out the stuff that doesn't make sense.

The answer here is a suite of tools that allows me to:

  • Keep broad match on - This way I can discover new variations of the keywords I'm bidding on. In fact, it should really allow me to record all these variations with a Web analytics portion, so that I can bid on more specific keywords and be more relevant (raising my Quality Score and click-through rates).
  • Discover negative keyword opportunities - The negative keyword matching option allows me to keep my ad from showing against various queries. This is a powerful weapon against the sort of irrelevant traffic we discussed above.

 This would mean that I could simultaneously:

  • Reach the audience I want my ad in front of
  • Avoid spending money on uninterested clicks

The WordStream Matching Option

This is precisely what WordStream does. The software offers you:

This allows you to drive down costs on targeted clicks without having to either give up traffic or pay for traffic you don't want.

If you're interested in learning more about WordStream's pay-per-click solutions, you can:

AdWords Tips