This month, we’ll explore the subtle differences between broad match and negative phrase match.
A really good question asked for Ask The PPC and while we’ve covered negative match types before, this question allows us to consider additional elements of strategy that we haven’t covered. A reader from Rio de Janeiro asks:
“Hey! It’s probably a silly question, but what’s the difference, if any, of invalidating a one-word term with broad-match or phrase-match types?”
For example, if I want to avoid any search term that contains a certain word, let’s say BLUE. Should I make BLUE negative with broad match type or phrase match?
Most of the negative keyword examples I’ve seen so far are compound words, which didn’t help me much. Thank you and keep up the great work! “
We will dive into:
- Strategic benefits of phrase versus negative broad matching.
- When to use single negatives versus multiple words.
Spoiler alert for this post: I chose this question because it sets us up nicely to talk about channel marketing.
If you’re advertising on only one channel (whether it’s Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, or something else), you’re missing out on the great return that comes from taking advantage of the full customer journey.
Strategic benefits of phrase versus negative broad matching
The simple answer to this reader’s question is that there is no difference between one broad match keyword/negative phrase (on Google).
If the word is in the query, your ad will not appear.
Both match types require syntax to match what was written to block traffic.
However, we don’t want to limit ourselves to just Google.
Microsoft Ads does not support negative broad matching, so when you go to import your campaigns, you will be setting yourself up to do a lot of extra work.
It’s easier to simply add all the negatives in the matching negative statement.
All types of negative matching require consideration of variables.
This means that the only reason to add a negative broad match keyword is if you need to exclude queries originating from a combination of words (two or more).
When to use single vs multiword negatives
A term is added as negative for one of two reasons:
- Eliminate wasteful spending.
- Direct spending towards the best home.
In most cases, one negative word will be the best path forward for both needs.
However, sometimes the idea can be related to relevant traffic while leaving the door open to waste.
This is when I tend to use negative two or three word words.
For example, if I want to generate leads for a software company, I might be tempted to add the term “support” as a negative because I don’t want to pay for existing customers.
However, anyone looking for support can also look forward to understanding what kind of success a customer can expect.
By adding the idea of ”number” to the negative, you can be sure to block out intended traffic while leaving the door open for potential customers who search in unconventional ways.
In this example, you would add the term “support number” to the broad match and phrase so that you can block visits regardless of the order in which the user enters those terms.
This way you will still be able to appear in SERPs for transactions.
Single negative words are ideal for ensuring ad groups don’t steal from each other.
For example, if you know that Software and Platform have different auction prices and conversion rates, you might want to bid on both.
Making them negative one-word words in the other party’s ad group will protect budget, as well as ensure they don’t accidentally bid against you (since they’re variants of each other).
The final takeaway
Although there is no technical difference between a single negative word in a generic phrase, there are strategic benefits to leaning toward phrase matching.
It’s also important to strategically choose single negatives versus multiple words based on intent.
Do you have a question about PPC? Submit via this form or tweet me at @navahf using the hashtag #AskPPC. See you next month!
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