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Which keyword will trigger the impression?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

The answer to this may be simple, but my interest is in whether it's not, so I'd value the thoughts of the Community.


Say, for example, I have two keywords in different campaigns on the same account:


"bread and butter"



"bread and butter" has a CPC of £5; "butter" has a CPC of £10. QS is the same for both keywords.


Which will Google show for a search of "bread and butter"? The more relevant or the more profitable?


Thank you.

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Which keyword will trigger the impression?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
Hello James L,

The answer is "bread and butter" keyword will trigger the ad because it is the exact match with the search term and this is the first criterio Google looks for.


Re: Which keyword will trigger the impression?

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

I only wish that question were simple to answer. Smiley Happy


In general, search queries trigger the ad associated with the keyword that most precisely matches the search query. So, all else being equal, the system will trigger the keyword "bread and butter" to match searches for "bread and butter."


However, other factors do come into play.


Ad CTR, especially CTR for that precise search query, is a huge factor. If the "bread and butter" ad has a CTR of 1.25% and the "butter" ad has a CTR of 7.89%, the search query would most likely be matched to the "butter" ad. The system asks--how high the chance is of the keyword-ad combination getting a click from the searcher? (That is, which ad seems more likely to fulfill the searcher's need?) And then it matches the search query to that ad.


I hope that helps!

Google AdWords Top Contributor

Re: Which keyword will trigger the impression?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
Hello James L,

I'll stir up the pot a little here. I'm not sure I agree with Alex. First, it depends on the match type to a certain extent. I'll assume phrase match, as that what it looks like.

The way this works, if more than one keyword is eligible for impressions, the keyword with the highest AdRank enters the general auction. In it's simplest form, AdRank is QS*Max Bid. In this case, "butter" wins unless "bread and butter" has a QS double "butter".

Now, if you want your ad for "bread and butter" to show instead of your ad for "butter", enter "bread and butter" as negative phrase match in the "butter" group. This strategy gives you better control over which ad is shown.

Let's take a look at Alex's answer. He says "bread and butter", because Google will always prefer the exact match over phrase match. This is not necessarily true. If you have exact and phrase match both with the same bid and both in the same ad group, the exact match will usually win, but not always. Google says they will select the more restrictive match type if more than one match type is eligible. They also assume you will bid higher for the more restrictive match type on the same term. In this case, it looks like both keywords are phrase match, so the preference for exact match doesn't really exist.

Another thing to look at is the QS you see in the AdWords UI is calculated based on the exact phrase. "Butter" QS is calculated using "butter" as the search term. "Bread and butter" QS is calculated with that as the search term. So, when you see in the UI that both have the same QS, that is not necessarily true for all queries. The best way to find out which ad will be triggered is to use the Ad Preview tool. QS is dynamic, it is calculated each and every time it is used or displayed. It depends on the search term as well.

Google will normally show the ad that is more relevant. The measure of relevancy is CTR. You can change this by using CPA instead. Or you can override the behavior by bidding higher, placing them in separate ad groups and using negative keywords.

Best of Luck!

petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords