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Splitting Ad Groups By Match Type

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi All,


Having a little discussion in the office this morning on whether it's advisable to split ad groups by match type (one for phrase, one for exact, etc...)


Anyone have any thoughts/insight on the topic?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Splitting Ad Groups By Match Type

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Hi Matthew,

Great question. That's something that my team thinks about a lot.

I usually base my decision upon how much traffic is available for the keywords in question, and therefore how much of an impact we can have by separating the keywords by match type. I tend towards a less segmented approach which streamlines reporting and optimizations.

I hope that's helpful!


Re: Splitting Ad Groups By Match Type

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi @Matthew L great question, it's one where there's a lot of debate, even amongst my fellow TCs...


I'd argue that the primary purpose of Ad Groups is to provide structure for your Campaign theme.  If I sold TVs, I might have a Group for LED and one for OLED, or I might use Groups to split by screen size (or probably both).  We know that your Ad Groups should be as tightly themed as possible as that is the best way to ensure your Ad creatives are as relevant to the query as possible.  So, when considering match types, the question really is, "Does the match type change theme and/or relevancy?".


Let's say one of my Keywords is OLED TVs. Is there going to be a relevancy or theme change between "OLED TVs" and [OLED TVs]?  Obviously, the Phrase match can have additional words in the query, so there might be some words that change intent from the customer.  cheap OLED TVs may need different Ads to high end OLED TVs for example and you might structure your site to have an appropriate landing page for those queries.  However, I'd argue that if you're seeing substantial (useful) traffic for such differing queries you should have them as specific Keywords, maybe in their own Groups, so you'd have "cheap OLED TVs" and [cheap OLED TVs], etc.  I believe it's actually quite difficult to think of a Keyword where additional words (or word order, if using MBM) changes the theme and affects creatives and landing pages but also doesn't work for all match types.  In short, as far as theme goes, I don't see any advantage to splitting Groups by match type.


The most common suggestion we see made here is that you should use Negative Keywords to force a decision by AdWords towards a particular match Group, e.g. you use [OLED TVs] as a Negative in your Phrase Match Group containing "OLED TVs".  Personally, I've never seen the value of this, mostly because of the argument above (where's the benefit?), but also because this runs the risk of overruling what is already a complex algorithm used by Google to determine the best Keyword to use as a match for a given query.  If someone searches for OLED TVs and because of the oddities of Quality Score and other factors Google decides the Phrase match is the most appropriate rather than the exact, what does it matter?  It only matters if there's a difference in intent from the customer and you need a different creative and/or landing page, and then I'd go right back to my arguments above. 





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