Should You Only Use Exact Match Keywords in Google Ads Search Campaign?

When setting up your Google Ad Search Campaign, deciding on the right keyword match types to use can really have you scratching your head. Many decide to only use exact match, to stay as conservative as possible and minimize clicks from unrelated search terms.

This can be a good strategy if you already know all of the good keywords and search terms for your campaign. That’s the problem though, when first starting out you don’t know yet and by using exact match exclusively, you will potentially miss out on related search terms that are just slightly different but quality traffic nonetheless.

This translates to you receiving fewer search impressions and clicks and therefore fewer sales. These are sales your competitors might be snatching up instead.

Lately what I've been seeing good results with is to start off with all high intent broad match search keywords. I then will start with either Max Clicks, Manual CPC or Max Conversions bid strategy depending on my mood.

If I start off with one bid strategy and it's not performing well, I'll test out a different one.

I'll keep an eye on the Search Terms Report for search terms I think should be added as a negative keyword. Once the campaign is generating conversions on a regular basis, a minimum of 15-20 conversions per month, I'll set a Target CPA with Max Conversions bid strategy based on that the campaign's lifetime average cost per conversion is. I will gradually reduce this Target CPA  gradually overtime until it achieves the desired cost per conversion.

If a broad match keyword underperforms overtime, I'll turn it into a phrase match keyword. If it continues to underperform as a phrase match keyword then I'll switch it to an exact match. If it underperforms as an exact match then I will pause it.

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