Google Ads – Broad vs Exact

Understanding the best Google Ads strategy for your business is hugely important to maximise your Ad spend. As we all most likely know by now, Google loves spending your money, and will happily relieve you of your fortunes if you are unsure of your targets or focus. Whilst there are a myriad of options and goals to choose from, in this article we are going to focus on one, how best to use Broad and Exact search ads. 

The simple definition of a broad-based search is the main key phrase and variations to display your ads. Exact search key phrase will only display your ads if the user types exactly that key word. Now that we have established that, what are the pros and cons of both?

The Benefits Broad Keywords Can Bring

Broad based key phrases allow you to reach a far wider audience by taking in a whole host of variations. Whilst we would love to psychically know what everyone would typically search for; the simple fact is we do not. It is not just that people search for variations of various products or services & locations but that sometimes even miss spelt key words can trend. Essentially, when you are trying to gain as much reach as possible, broad phrase key words can work a treat. 

Another advantage of taking this approach can be when your industry is niche or if you are unsure of what to target. The valuable data you gain can help refine what key words are working best and those poorly performing to help discard from the account. On-going, by using broad phrase you can identify new targets or previously unthought of key words that provide conversions on your website. Using Broad properly could potentially give you limitless ideas for which to pursue to drive the right traffic to your website. 

The fundamental downside of using this strategy is firstly it is considerably more expensive. If your budget is tight, this can be a quick way of seeing your account run dry. The other main negative is that sometimes you can be found for the wrong key terms which potentially have nothing to do with your business. Take the example of a client we started working with who focused on branding and logo design. One of his broad phrases were “logo design Sydney” which sounds perfectively fine. However, he was getting found for terms like “tyre manufacturer Sydney” and “pizza delivery Sydney”. Clearly those 2 key words hold no relation to his business so not only was budget wasted but it meant those clicking using those terms ended up bouncing off the site, another negative in the eyes of Google.

Taking the above into account, you can set a list of negative key words in your account to avoid calamitous search results showing. But using that example, you get the point of how easily broad search can go astray and you can see your hard earned being wasted to no good end.

The Value of Exact Match Keyterms

The flip side to this is to focus more heavily on exact phrase searches. This works well when you have a noticeably clear idea of what your potential customers will be searching for to find you. Perhaps you have done prior research or have experience to know based on the variety of tools available. As there is an overabundance of websites on just about every possible industry, standing out is paramount. Thus, if you can really define specific key phrases that allow customers to find you, the higher the probability of a conversion or three. 

The beauty of exact phrase is that there is minimal waste in your account, and you are targeting exactly what you set out to target. Plus, if you are on a tight budget this strategy can work well for you to the point you have established a clear formula for spend v conversion to your website. 

The downside to using this strategy is you are potentially missing out on a wider audience or variations that may convert well for you. If you were to use only this strategy, it can very well limit your reach in finding new customers for your products or services. This is especially true for newer businesses that have little or no data to support where the focus should be and as such, due diligence is highly recommended from the off.

One Approach Does Not Fit All with Google Ads

The simple answer is that no one version of phrase search is a best fit for all. Many factors come into play such as your industry, targets for the website and design/functionality of your landing page/s. As a rule of thumb, it is worth combining both into your campaign and testing the waters. No individual or company will be able to provide 100% success with any Google Ad campaign. There will always be margins of error and testing period to see what works and what does not. 

Ultimately, we would encourage you to focus on – what are the strengths of your business, who do you wish to market to and where do you want to take them. The clearer you can answer those questions whilst doing your proper research ahead of launching a Google Ads campaign, the better your chance of success. There is simply no substitute for experience but even those who are just starting out can use some guile coupled with raw date to make a success within a short period of launching.