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Now Optimize users can innovate in 37 new languages

October 19, 2017 No Comments
It just got a whole lot easier to share Google Optimize with your teams around the world.

Optimize is now available in 37 new languages. Got a team in Thailand? No trouble. Cross-functional partner in Croatia? You’re covered. You’ll find the full list of supported languages here.

We’re always glad to bring our products to more of the world. But in this case, we’re extra excited about the way this will help teams collaborate and innovate not just across the office but across the globe.

In this data-rich world, everyone in your company needs to be part of building a culture of growth: a culture that embraces testing and analytics as the best way to learn what customers like most and to improve their experience day by day. Optimize opens the door for innovators at every level to explore how even tiny UI changes can improve results. 

Often those innovators take the form of a small “X-team” — maybe an analyst, a designer, and an engineer working together and totally focused on testing and optimization. With Optimize, a group like that can create changes in minutes instead of days, and they can more easily share that growth mindset and inspire others across their organization.

Now with 37 more languages in play, Optimize makes it possible for many more local teams to take on the role of optimizers, innovators, and culture-changers.

If you have team members who have selected one of the 37 new languages in their Google Account preferences, they’ll see Optimize in that language whenever they next sign in. (If you’d like to select a language preference just for Optimize, you can do so in your Optimize user settings at any time.) And if you’re happy with your current Optimize language, you’re fine: No action is needed.

To learn more about your global language options, visit our help center. Happy optimizing!


Google Analytics Blog


New: Streaming Google Analytics Data for BigQuery

October 15, 2017 No Comments
Streaming data for BigQuery export is here.

Today we’re happy to announce that data for the Google Analytics BigQuery export can be streamed as often as every 10 minutes into Google Cloud.

If you’re a Google Analytics 360 client who wants to do current-day analysis, this means you can choose to send data to BigQuery up to six times per hour for almost real-time analysis and action. That’s a 48x improvement over the existing three-times-per-day exports.

What can I do with streaming data delivery?
Many businesses use faster access to their data to identify and engage with clients who show an intent to convert.

For example, it’s well known that a good time to offer a discount to consumers is just after they’ve shown intent (like adding a product to their cart) but then abandoned the conversion funnel. An offer at that moment can bring back large numbers of consumers who then convert. In a case like this, it’s critical to use the freshest data to identify those users in minutes and deploy the right campaign to bring them back.

More frequent updates also help clients recognize and fix issues more quickly, and react to cultural trends in time to join the conversation. BigQuery is an important part of the process: it helps you join other datasets from CRM systems, call centers, or offline sales that are not available in Google Analytics today to gain greater context into those clients, issues, or emerging trends.

When streaming data is combined with BigQuery’s robust programmatic and statistical tools, predictive user models can capture a greater understanding of your audience ― and help you engage those users where and when they’re ready to convert. That means more sales opportunities and better returns on your investment.

What’s changing?
Those who opt in to streaming Google Analytics data into BigQuery will see data delivered to their selected BigQuery project as fast as every 10 minutes.

Those who don’t opt-in will continue to see data delivered just as it has been, arriving about every eight hours.

Why is opt-in required?
The new export uses Cloud Streaming Service, which costs a little extra: $ 0.05 per GB (that is, “a nickel a gig”). The opt-in is our way of making sure nobody gets surprised by the additional cost. If you don’t take any action, your account will continue to run as it does now, and there will be no added cost.

What data is included?
Most data sent directly to Google Analytics is included. However, data pulled in from other sources like AdWords and DoubleClick, also referred to as “integration sources”, operate with additional requirements like fraud detection. That means that this data is purposefully delayed for your benefit and therefore exempt from this new streaming functionality.

For further details on what is supported or not supported, please read the help center article here.

How do I get started?
You can start receiving the more frequent data feeds by opting in. To do so, just visit the Google Analytics BigQuery linking page in the Property Admin section and choose the following option:

You can also visit our Help Center for full details on this change and opt-in instructions.


Google Analytics Blog


Better tools for teams of all sizes

October 12, 2017 No Comments
We’ve heard feedback from businesses of all sizes that they need simpler ways to manage the analytics products they use and the team members who use them. That’s why we’re making new controls available to everyone who uses Analytics, Tag Manager, and Optimize and improving navigation for users of Surveys and Data Studio. These new features will help you more easily manage your accounts, get an overview of your business, and move between products.


Streamlined account management



With centralized account management, you can control user access and permissions across multiple products, like Analytics, Tag Manager, and Optimize.

The first step is to create an organization to represent your business. You then link this organization to all of the different accounts that belong to your business. You can also move accounts between the organizations you create.

Now you have a central location where administrators for your organization can:

  • Create rules for which types of new users should be allowed access to your organization
  • Audit existing users and decide which products and features they should have access to
  • Remove users who have left your organization or no longer need access to the tools
  • See the last time a user in your organization accessed Google Analytics data
  • Allow users to discover who are your organization’s admins and contact them for help




New home page



Setting up an organization also gives you access to a new home page that provides an overview of your business. You’ll be able to manage accounts and settings across products and get insights and quick access to the products and features you use most. For example, you might see a large increase in visitors for a specific Analytics property, and then click through to Analytics to investigate where the visitors are coming from.




Simplified navigation



Finally, you’ll get a unified user experience across products. Common navigation and product headers make it easy to switch between products and access the data you need. You can view accounts by organization, or see everything you have access to in one place. We’ve also redesigned search, making it possible to search across all of your accounts in a single place.




Get started



If your business would benefit from these features, please visit this page to get started. You can also check out the help center for more info.

These updates will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned if you don’t yet have access.

Note: If you’re using the enterprise versions of our products, like Analytics 360, you already have access to these features as part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite.


Google Analytics Blog


How to write blog headlines that drive search traffic

October 8, 2017 No Comments

Content marketing is a highly viable digital marketing strategy, designed to attract and drive traffic to your website or specific landing pages.

But you could be the best writer and still not attract qualified readers (or worse, any at all). The importance of an effective, attractive headline cannot be overstated.

Think of your audiences as hunters and gatherers. They’re constantly scanning and searching online for what they need. And most of the time they don’t find it.

A good headline that catches their attention and entices them to click through to read the rest solves their problem – and creates coveted lead generation opportunities for you.

Make headline writing (and perfection) a key component of your content marketing strategy. Follow these simple rules and you’ll appeal to audiences as well as search engines.

1. Use keywords

But just one. Including keywords in your headlines is important, as major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing will place more emphasis on the versus the content itself. It might be tempting to create a witty headline, but save it for print.

If it doesn’t contain any context about the blog’s main message, there’s a good chance it will get buried in your website – and certainly won’t be found by a search engine.

2. Appeal to emotions

According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest (sad, but true).

You have one chance to get your reader to click; using power words will help. The Headline Analyzer tool from CoSchedule recommends using a balance of common, uncommon, emotional and power words to captivate your audience. Phrases like “what happens when” and “you need to” compel readers to discover the benefit of the article.

Which brings us to…

3. Be clear – and avoid clickbait

You’re working so hard to build trust with your audience – through everything you do. Don’t ruin it with a misleading headline just to get people to read a piece of content.

Consider the headline of this article. It is direct and to the point, letting you know exactly what you’ll learn from reading the piece. Headlines that let readers know they will find a solution to their problems, learn how to do something or receive an answer to their question provide a known benefit.

A confusing or unclear headline, on the other hand, could result in a prospective reader exiting your page and moving onto the next search result because they didn’t find the information they were looking for, also known as a “bounce.” While Google may not use bounce rate as a ranking factor, it means that the user won’t be discovering any of the other great content that’s on your site, let alone converting or doing anything else there.

4. Know your audience

What type of information is your target audience likely to be searching for? The best headlines are ones your audience will find value in because they’re focused on their wants and needs.

There are formulas to help with this: (definition + guide to + action + keyword + promise). An example headline made using this guide could be: “A free guide to designing successful infographics for B2B companies“.

5. Think in numbers

A list is often more compelling, because readers then have a clearer idea of what to expect. For example, “3 ways to attract more customers” or “5 healthy foods you should be eating for breakfast” lets readers know exactly what to expect from the article and delivers a benefit in a compelling manner. They also signal to readers whether they’re about to read a lengthy or brief article.

According to research by Outbrain, odd numbers attract on average a 20% higher click rate than even numbers, as the asymmetry makes them more likely to grab the reader’s attention.

6. Use words that captivate

In addition to strong keywords, using positive adjectives can also increase engagement. Try using words like “free,” “easy,” and “new” which generate more audience engagement. (Who doesn’t love free, easy and new information?)

Another best practice is to use phrases that suggest urgency, specificity and exclusivity, because readers want to get the “scoop” on information before anyone else.

7. Keep it short and sweet

Lastly, keeping the headline short enables your target audience to read the headline quickly, improving its chances of getting noticed before others. Email subject lines have their own specific guidelines too, but keep email in mind when crafting article headlines. If you’re sharing your blog posts via email newsletter, recipients will only see the first half of a sentence in the preview text.

The world of blogging is competitive, but search rankings make it easier for readers to find your content – and the answers they’re looking for.

Of course, the list above isn’t the holy grail of headline writing; there are additional strategies you might try in order to increase the effectiveness of your headlines, and in turn, improve your click-through rate and overall ROI. But you need to start somewhere.

Incorporate these practices into your regular blogging strategy, and you’ll start seeing more mileage from your content.

Search Engine Watch


Get Your Data House in Order: Our Checklist for Useful Marketing Data

October 5, 2017 No Comments
Every organization has unique data needs, but leading organizations have one thing in common: They expect data to be useful. In fact, marketing leaders are 127% as likely as the mainstream to say that their data and analytics strategy is useful for decision-making at all levels.1

We shared more insights about usefulness — and other findings from new Econsultancy research conducted in partnership with Google — in a recent webinar with MIT Sloan, where marketers from companies of all sizes joined to learn how organizations around the world regularly turn insights into action.

It goes without saying that the word “useful” can mean different things to different marketers. As you build a data strategy that’s optimized for your business, there are a few helpful questions you can ask to frame your thinking.

Use this quick checklist to get yourself on the right track — and watch the webinar to learn more about what the research findings.

Is your data organized? 

The amount of data useful to your company depends on the size of the company, but one thing is certain: only organized data is useful data.

In another study, 61% of marketing decision makers said they struggled to access or integrate the data they needed in 2016.2 When gathering and analyzing data, it’s important to know how your data should be organized in order to know what to focus on. Data dispersed in different organizational silos will be difficult to sift through, let alone use to inform important decisions. Instead, get data out of silos and organize it so that it can be useful.

Is your data focused on the user?

In our webinar, listeners learned that a user-centric approach — and the better understanding of your audience that comes with it — helps organizations handle the ever-increasing number of touchpoints in the customer journey and deliver more relevant, engaging experiences.

Nearly 90% of leaders agree that understanding user journeys across channels and devices is critical to marketing success.3 Any data that allows marketers to better understand these journeys is useful for decision-making.

Is your data integrated?

Our report with Econsultancy found that top companies place a greater emphasis on integrating their technology. Specifically, organizations with integrated marketing and advertising stacks are 37% more likely to say that their company uses data to support decision-making at all levels, compared to marketers without fully integrated technologies.4

Ask yourself: How and where does my business use data? During our webinar, we polled the audience to see in which areas of business the participants most commonly use data and analytics. See how you compare:

The live attendees of our webinar, “Get Your Data House in Order,” answered the question: In what areas of your business are you using data analytics?

Do you have defined KPIs? 

Before you truly define what “useful” data means for you, you need to set KPIs. In our Econsultancy study, 45% of all respondents say that unclear definitions of KPIs present a significant negative impact on their organizations, whereas leaders are 47% more likely than the mainstream to say that their data and analytics strategy includes how they define KPIs for paid media and (38% more likely for owned properties).5

The concept is simple: If you don’t know what you’re working toward, you can’t know what’s useful to you.

Does your team know how to use the data? 

Finally, data can only be useful if your team knows how to interpret and use it. The most effective way to ensure that data is properly shared throughout the team — and that all employees have access to effective training — is to have a documented data and analytics strategy.

More than half of the mainstream marketers we surveyed said their companies do not have adequate analyst-related resources. As a related benchmark, here’s how often our audience said they take action based on data:

Webinar attendee responses to the poll question: How often does your team take action based on data?

For your team to use data to make decisions at all levels, data literacy must be promoted throughout the organization.

Every company will gather and use data differently — but no matter how mature your company is when it comes to using marketing data, this checklist will help you evaluate how effectively you’re using data.

Watch the complete webinar recording of “Marketers: Get Your Data House in Order” to hear more from Google and MIT Sloan speakers.

1,3,4,5 Econsultancy/Google, “The Customer Experience is Written in Data”, May 2017, U.S. (n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $ 250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who reported marketing significantly exceeded top business goal in 2016, n=478 mainstream marketers (remainder of the sample), May 2017 2 Google Surveys, “2016-2017 Marketing Analytics Challenges and Goals”, Base: 203 marketing executives who have analytics or data-driven initiatives, U.S., December 2016.


Google Analytics Blog


Access all of your data with Data Studio Community Connectors

October 1, 2017 No Comments

Since the recent developer launch of Data Studio Community Connectors, users have been able to easily connect to and report on data from over 250 new sources.

Partners are also now leveraging Data Studio + Community Connectors as a free and powerful reporting and analysis solution for their customers, with minimal development investment.

We’ve already seen a number of interesting use cases. For example, ClickInsight, a Data Studio certified partner, used Community Connectors to create interactive experiences for the weather forecast in Toronto, the NY Times most popular stories, and real time departures info for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. They embedded these Data Studio reports in a blog post for anyone to try, Are You Ready to Get Creative with Data Studio Connectors?

Try Community Connectors

We have been working with a growing number of partners that are making it easy for users to directly access all of their data in Data Studio. Partners such as AdStage, Analytics Canvas, CallRail, data.world, Funnel, PowerMyAnalytics, and Supermetrics have enabled easy access to 250 data sets including: Facebook Ads, MailChimp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Amazon, and many more available through the Community Connector Gallery.

Data Studio Community Connectors Gallery

Easily build your own Community Connector

You can develop your own Community Connectors and use them in Data Studio reports and dashboards. Your connector can fetch data from sources such as:
We’ve made it easy to build your own connector by leveraging the Google Apps Script platform which provides a multitude of services and resources to quickly build and deploy connectors. 
To learn more about building a Community Connector visit Getting Started with Community Connectors and the Community Connector Developer Program.

Share, publish or open-source your Community Connector

The reports you create using Community Connectors can be shared with others. In addition, you can let other Data Studio users use your connector. For example, you can directly share your connector with colleagues at your organization or make your connector available for all Data Studio users to find by publishing your connector in the Community Connector Gallery.

Tell us your story

If you have any interesting connector stories, ideas or if you’d like to share some amazing reports you’ve created using Community Connectors please let us know by giving us a shout or send us your story at community-connector-feedback@google.com.
As we continue to improve the Community Connector features be sure to regularly check the Community Connector Gallery for new additions that will enable greater access to all of your data in Data Studio.

Posted by Pete Frisella, on behalf of the entire Data Studio team


Google Analytics Blog


The last word on Fred from Google’s Gary Illyes

September 27, 2017 No Comments

This month’s Brighton SEO delegates all hoped for Google’s Gary Illyes to enlighten them on the major talking points in search this year. They weren’t disappointed. 

Google algorithm updates are frequently on the minds of SEOs and webmasters, and have been a hot topic for years. We are always on tenterhooks, waiting for the next change that could damage our site’s rankings.

We are never able to rest, always at risk of being penalized by the next animal to enter Google’s zoo of updates.

Past assumptions about Google Fred

Back on March 7th 2017, many webmasters reported unexpected fluctuations to rankings. The name Google Fred then began to circulate, following a chat on Twitter between Barry Schwartz and Google’s Gary Illyes where Gary joked about future updates being named Fred.

We safely assumed there was an adjustment to the algorithm as Google confirmed there are updates happening every day. As usual, Google did not confirm any details about this particular update, but analysis of affected sites suggested it focused on poor quality content sites that were benefiting from monetization tactics.

As this update felt larger than the normal day-to-day algorithm changes, it seemed only natural it should be worthy of a name. As a result, the name “Google Fred” officially stuck, despite Gary Illyes intending his tongue-in-cheek comment to refer to all future updates.

So how can we tell the difference between the Fred update in March and other updates?

What is Google Fred, really?

In a Q&A session at September’s Brighton SEO, Google Fred was brought up once again, and we got the final word on Fred from Gary Illyes himself. Here’s what Fred’s creator had to say:

Interviewer: Let’s talk about Fred.

Gary Illyes: Who?

Interviewer: You are the person that created Fred. So Fred is basically an algo that…

Gary Illyes: It’s not one algo, it’s all the algos.

Interviewer: So you can confirm it’s not a single algo – it’s a whole umbrella of a bunch of different changes and updates that everyone has just kind of put under this umbrella of “Fred”.

Gary Illyes: Right, so the story behind Fred is that basically I’m an asshole on Twitter. And I’m also very sarcastic which is usually a very bad combination. And Barry Schwartz, because who else, was asking me about some update that we did to the search algorithm.

And I don’t know if you know, but in average we do three or two to three updates to the search algorithm, ranking algorithm every single day. So usually our response to Barry is that sure, it’s very likely there was an update. But that day I felt even more sarcastic than I actually am, and I had to tell him that.

Oh, he was begging me practically for a name for the algorithm or update, because he likes Panda or Penguin and what’s the new one. Pork, owl, shit like that. And I just told him that, you know what, from now on every single update that we make – unless we say otherwise – will be called Fred; every single one of them.

Interviewer: So now we’re in a perpetual state of Freds?

Gary Illyes: Correct. Basically every single update that we make is a Fred. I don’t like, or I was sarcastic because I don’t like that people are focusing on this.

Every single update that we make is around quality of the site or general quality, perceived quality of the site, content and the links or whatever. All these are in the Webmaster Guidelines. When there’s something that is not in line with our Webmaster Guidelines, or we change an algorithm that modifies the Webmaster Guidelines, then we update the Webmaster Guidelines as well.

Or we publish something like a Penguin algorithm, or work with journalists like you to publish, throw them something like they did with Panda.

Interviewer: So for all these one to two updates a day, when webmasters go on and see their rankings go up or down, how many of those changes are actually actionable? Can webmasters actually take something away from that, or is it just under the generic and for the quality of your site?

Gary Illyes: I would say that for the vast majority, and I’m talking about probably over 95%, 98% of the launches are not actionable for webmasters. And that’s because we may change, for example, which keywords from the page we pick up because we see, let’s say, that people in a certain region put up the content differently and we want to adapt to that.

[…]

Basically, if you publish high quality content that is highly cited on the internet – and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that.

[audience laughter]

Then, I shouldn’t have said that right? Then you are doing great. And fluctuations will always happen to your traffic. We can’t help that; it would be really weird if there wasn’t fluctuation, because that would mean we don’t change, we don’t improve our search results anymore.

(Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity)

So there we have it: every update is a Fred unless otherwise stated. The ranking drops in March may well have been triggered by the “original” Fred update, but so will all fluctuations, for they are all Fred.

How can we optimize for Fred?

Gary says that 95-98% of updates are not actionable for webmasters. With two or three updates a day, that accounts for a lot of updates each year! So what do we do?

The answer is simple – do what you were doing before. Build great websites, build your brand and produce high quality content aimed to satisfy the needs of searchers whilst adhering to the Webmaster Guidelines.

As Simon Ensor wrote in his recent article on the SEO industry and its sweeping statements, SEOs shouldn’t fear algorithm updates from Google:

“Many may complain that Google moves the goalposts but in actual fact, the fundamentals remain the same. Avoiding manipulative behavior, staying relevant, developing authority and thinking about your users are four simple factors that will go a long way to keeping you on the straight and narrow.

The Google updates are inevitable. Techniques will evolve, and results will require some hard graft. Every campaign is different, but if you stick to the core principles of white-hat SEO, you need not take notice of the sweeping statements that abound in our corner of the marketing world. Nor should you have to fear future Google updates.”

What does it mean for SEOs?

Sage advice aside, this explanation from Gary Illyes may still leave SEOs feeling slightly frustrated. We appreciate that not every small update warrants a name or set of webmaster guidelines, but we still have a job to do and a changeable industry to make sense of.

We have stakeholders and clients to answer to and explain ranking fluctuations to. It doesn’t help us to put all updates under the carpet of Fred.

Of course we would find it really useful if each major update came with clear guidelines immediately, not leaving us for days in the dark, figuring it out and stabilizing our rankings.

But maybe – as Gary may have been alluding – where would the fun be if it were that simple?

To read the full transcript of the Q&A with Gary Illyes or watch a recording of the interview, check out this blog post by iThinkMedia.

Search Engine Watch


How to use demand generation channels to effectively expand your reach

September 24, 2017 No Comments

As Q4 approaches, it’s crucial that you plan to capitalize on all the traffic that comes with it.

We all know how effective search is, but it’s also limited to those already in the hunt for what you’re offering.

To continue to scale, you need to effectively get in front of audiences that aren’t yet interested – but could be! – in your service/product. That’s where demand generation comes in, and marketers have more (and better) options for demand generation than ever.

As we head full-steam into Q4, here’s a list of demand generation channels, considerations of when to make use of them to expand your reach, and best practices we’ve honed across clients of all budgets.

Google Display Network

Once rather maligned, the GDN provides a number of targeting options that allow you to leverage the thousands of data points they collect on users across the web. Among the most effective targeting options when it comes to both demand generation and direct response are:

Keyword contextual targeting

Choose your top 10-15 keywords and let Google place ads accordingly.

My strong recommendation is to start off with content-based keyword targeting first; this gives you more control over what is being targeted (websites relevant to your keywords). When you select “audience”-based keyword contextual targeting, you end up targeting a significantly larger group of users where the targeting is not only websites relevant to your keywords but also audiences who may be interested.

This gives Google a lot of power to find users – but it also opens you up to more risk. By starting out with content, you are taking a low-risk approach to GDN. As you see success and build up conversion history, feel free to experiment with audience targeting.

In-market audiences

Based on audience behavior, Google determines users who are currently shopping for different products/categories. The feature combines search intent with display’s reach, and it’s definitely worth testing.

Custom affinity audiences

If you provide Google with competitor websites or industry-relevant domains, CAA will analyze the types of audiences visiting those sites (demographics, interests, website topics) and target audiences similar to them. I recommend that you test by starting off with your top 5 competitors.

As you build conversions – about 40+ conversions is a good benchmark – I would strongly recommend switching your bidding style to CPA optimizer and allowing Google to leverage its thousands of data points and optimize towards your target CPA. We’ve had a lot of success with this option.

Facebook/Instagram

The Facebook/Instagram duo offers powerful audience targeting capabilities. We’ve seen two strategies work consistently:

Make use of lookalike targeting and base your seed lists off your customers

Rather than taking your full customer list, however, segment by identifiable characteristics. I typically recommend high LTV or high AOV, or segmenting by category/type depending on the product or business. If you have a big enough seed list, start by testing a 1% audience, as those users will be most similar to your existing customers.

Use interest/behavior targeting and insights from the platform’s Audience Insights tool

Upload your top customers to Audience Insights and analyze the valuable demographic, interest-based data. Now begin building various personas of audiences you want to target (each ad set should represent a different persona).

When selecting your targeting options within Facebook, layer in demographic data from the Insights tool to make these audiences more relevant.

Pinterest

I recommend this fast-growing channel more for ecommerce than B2B. Remember that Pinterest is somewhat intent-driven, as users are typing in keywords to look for relevant pins. Start off with your top keyword list and test from there, and focus on strong creative that can stand out among the many other pins.

Your Pinterest creative should be eye-catching, high quality, and include compelling images of the product. Write detailed descriptions highlighting the most compelling aspects of the product and inviting users to click on ad, and leverage text overlays on your pins to help any core message stand out.

Twitter

Twitter tends to perform well for B2B or more technical businesses. I recommend that you leverage lookalike targeting on your top-performing customer segments; you can also try targeting followers of certain influencers who may be core to your brand or followers of competitors in the industry.

Last general recommendation: begin leveraging these options ASAP so you can build up a retargeting audience to engage when purchase motivation is higher. Cast a wide net now, and you’ll have more fish to land in the holiday season.

Search Engine Watch


Common PPC keyword mistakes (Understanding broad match vs. phrase match vs. exact match)

September 20, 2017 No Comments

Google AdWords offers three major keyword match types – broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

It’s safe to say that if not you don’t know how to use each correctly, you could be wasting your PPC budget.

Choosing the right keyword match types can help you target your ads better so you get higher-quality traffic to your site. Match types are simple to understand, so it’s important to take time to learn about them before you do anything else with your PPC campaigns.

What are match types for PPC advertising?

The first question is easy: What does match type mean? In short, the match type you choose for each keyword specifies which searches Google can show your ad. Your match type determines whether a wide audience will see your ads or whether your ads will only show for a few highly targeted searchers.

Your first step is to create a keyword to track by navigating to the “keywords” tab and clicking the red “+Keywords” button, as shown below:

After clicking the red button you will be taken to a page where you can add multiple keywords, as shown below:

Once you save that keyword, you can select the keyword to change the match type. Consider the specific differences below:

Broad match

Of all the keyword match types, broad match casts the widest net. When you choose broad match for a keyword Google will show your ad to people who type in all kinds of variations of your keyword, as well as the keyword itself.

For example, let’s say your keyword is ceramic pots. If you set this keyword to broad match, your ad won’t just show up for people who type ceramic pots into the search bar. Google will also show it to people looking for blue ceramic pots, ceramic cooking pots, and cooking pot ceramic. Your ad can even show up when people type in synonyms of your keyword, like pottery cookware.

Simply click in the keyword to change the match type:

Broad match is the default match type for keywords, so if you haven’t adjusted your keywords’ match type, they’re currently set to broad match. You don’t need to use any special symbols to set a keyword to broad match, although you do need to use symbols for other match types – more on that in a minute.

It’s a good idea to use broad match keywords when you want to reach the widest audience possible. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, though, this strength could become a weakness. The impressions you get from broad match keywords aren’t very targeted, and that could mean you’re paying for clicks from people who weren’t interested in your offer to begin with.

Modified broad match

You can get around some of the downsides of broad match keywords by using a modified broad match type instead. This lets you specify which words must be in a search query for your ad to show.

If you do this, your keyword still falls under the broad match umbrella, but you have a little more control over who sees your ads. Modified broad match is a powerful tool for keeping your keywords flexible while cutting down on irrelevant traffic.

To modify a broad match keyword, place a + sign directly in front of any word that must be in a query for your ad to display. For instance, to re-use our example above, you could modify your keyword by changing it to +ceramic pots.

This tells Google not to show your ad unless “ceramic” is somewhere in the query. For instance, your ad could show up for ceramic bakeware and stockpot ceramic, but not for pottery cookware.

You can also insert a “+” before more than one word in your keyword. If you wanted your ad to show only for queries that included both the words “ceramic” and “pots,” you could modify your keyword to +ceramic +pots.

Phrase match

Phrase match lets you specify an exact phrase that must be in a searcher’s query for your ad to appear. It lets you hone in on your intended audience more than the broad match type, but isn’t as restrictive as exact match.

To set a keyword to phrase match, put quotation marks around it. This lets Google know to only show your ad to people who used your exact keyword (or close variations of it) somewhere in their query. If your phrase match keyword is “ceramic pots”, your ad can show up for the searches “heavy-duty ceramic pots” and “ceramic pot with lid” but not “ceramic cooking pots.”

Exact match

When you use an exact match keyword, your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword (or close variations of it) and nothing else. This match type will limit your impressions the most, so use it with caution. The impressions you do get, however, will be highly targeted, so they’ll be more valuable than the impressions you’d get from a broad match keyword.

Set a keyword to exact match by putting it in square brackets – for example, [ceramic pots]. Only people who type ceramic pots or close variations of it into the search bar will see your ad. There’s no way to turn off close variation matching in Google, so your ad will still show for people who search for ceramic pot or another very similar term.

Negative match

Negative match isn’t a keyword match type in the same way as the ones above. Rather, it lets you specify words you don’t want your ad to show for. If you know your ad won’t be relevant if a certain word is in a search query, set that word as a negative match. Google won’t show your ads to any of those searchers.

For instance, if ceramic pot is your keyword and you’re selling cooking pots, you might want to set “vase” as a negative match. Otherwise, people looking for ceramic vases might stumble upon your site and then leave right away, which only wastes your advertising dollars.

Set a word as a negative keyword by including a “-” in front of it, like this: -vase. Below shows you how to navigate to the negative keyword tab. You simply click the red button once again, and here you have a choice if you want these negative keywords to be for one campaign or your entire ad group, as you can see below:

What counts as a close variation?

We’ve mentioned a couple of times that Google automatically lumps very similar terms in with your keyword. At this point, you might be wondering what a close variation actually is. According to Google’s page on keyword matching options, close variations include all of the following:

  • Common misspellings
  • Singular versions of plural words, and vice versa
  • Acronyms
  • Abbreviations
  • Stemmings, or words that all have the same root – e.g. cook, cooking, and cooked
  • Accents

How can you make sure you’re choosing the right match type?

Now that you know what all the match types do, how should you plan your keyword strategy? Google recommends starting out with broad match keywords and then narrowing them down as appropriate. Keep an eye on your search terms report, which tells you which queries people typed in to see your ad.

If you notice that your ad is showing up for a lot of unrelated or irrelevant queries, try adding negative keywords to weed some of them out, or use more restrictive match types for your keywords.

You can find your search terms report using a variety of tools. AgencyAnalytics is one such tool that allows you to also click the keywords tab (shown below) for all of your keyword data to help create a full picture:

It’s also a good idea to vary your keyword match types. Don’t use all broad match keywords, or your ad will display for too many people who aren’t interested. Likewise, if you only use exact match, your ads might not show up often enough to get you good results.

Mix it up based on what makes sense for each keyword, and aim for a good balance between reaching a wide audience and showing your ads to the right people.

The takeaway

You can choose great PPC keywords, but if you don’t deploy them well, they won’t get you the results you want. Choosing your keyword match types is an important way to determine which searchers see your ads, and this ultimately impacts your sales.

Monitor your search terms report to see how your match types are performing, and adjust them as needed, and you just might notice a big difference in your traffic and sales.

What’s your strategy for using keyword match types? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Amanda DiSilvestro is a freelance digital marketing writer and editor living in San Diego, CA. You can connect with Amanda on 
Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her writing services at amandadisilvestro.com.

Search Engine Watch


Google Analytics is enhancing support for AMP on cache

September 17, 2017 No Comments
With users getting more and more impatient with slow mobile pages, developers are increasingly investing in a faster web experience with solutions like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Billions of AMP pages have been published by all kinds of mobile sites – from news to recipes to e-commerce. With so much AMP content being published every week, Google Analytics continues to evolve to support those of our customers who have adopted AMP.

Today we are excited to be the first supporting vendor to announce a new service, Google’s AMP Client ID API, that will enable the same benefits for AMP pages displayed via Google surfaces. In May of this year we launched a solution to help you better understand your customers’ journeys across AMP and non-AMP experiences that were hosted on your own domain. Google’s AMP Client ID API will enable the same benefits for AMP pages displayed by Google such as in Google Search.

How will this work? 

This solution works by allowing your web pages, which may be partially served on Google platforms and partially on your domain, to communicate with each other. This communication happens via a newly introduced Google API and with Google Analytics such that it can understand if a user on your non-AMP pages had ever visited an AMP page displayed by Google. When true, Google Analytics can help you understand user behavior across these two page types as a single cohesive experience. 

To get started you’ll have to opt-in to this solution via a code change. The small code change is required on both your AMP and non-AMP websites to enable this as well as an acknowledgement of the new Google Analytics terms for usage of this API.

When will this happen? 

The ability to opt-in to this solution is available today and you can find code instructions and new terms here. Please review the documentation and opt-in when you are ready.

Are there any other implications of this change? 

Once you opt-in to this solution you will notice changes to some of your metrics. Your user and session metrics will drop down to more accurate counts as formerly distinct users are recognised as the same person, as well as related metrics that will also become more accurate (such as Time on Site and Bounce Rate). And New Users may rise temporarily. This is a function of the product more accurately counting your users. It’s a one-time effect that will continue until all your users who have viewed AMP pages in the past return to your site (this can take a short or long period of time depending on how quickly your users return to your site/app). To get more detail about what may change, please read our help center article.

Opt into this new feature today to get deeper insight into how users are interacting with your AMP pages.

Happy Analyzing!


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