I was enjoying a cup of coffee and perusing the latest Google news when I came across a Search Engine Land article reporting that as of late September, Google is taking away the AdWords advertiser’s ability to opt-out of close variants.
The benefit without close variants is that you can bid differently on plurality and know exactly where your ads are being displayed. Plus, you can guarantee if a searcher used a specific phrase that it triggered an ad. Right now, each Adwords campaign has this setting activated by default, but it can be turned off on the campaign settings page. In the new all-variant environment coming this fall, this won’t be the case.
What Close Variants Means for Adwords Advertising
“Close variants” is a cool feature that allows matching to happen on near-match iterations and misspellings to the campaign keywords. It’s a useful tool because it saves time and gets you more reach. It also allows you to review important queries that may relate to the inputted keyword.
A good example is an advertiser using the exact match term “dog harness.” The ad would display for other terms that the advertiser may not have planned for, like “dog harnesses.”
When the close variants are switched off only ads for the exact match keyword will show. The problem? While close variants gives you a larger net approach, many advertisers preferred to do something else as there’s no guarantee what keyphrases you may spend your budget on.
For example, let’s say a searcher is looking for “cardio.” This person isn’t likely in need of a “cardiologist.” No, this person may actually be in need of some exercise. The initial keyword of “cardio” and the word “cardiologist” may be just a few characters off, but the intent is worlds apart!
Come September when the switch takes place, advertisers won’t be able to spend their budget on a specific term. All match types will have applied close variants.
How to Cope with Close Variants
When the transition happens, be ready to do the following:
- Drill into keyword ‘details’ reports on Adwords to view variants spending
- Add more negative keywords
- Negative out the exact match only ad groups and campaigns
- Be cautious not to overlap when you bid differently on singular vs. plural
- Negative out the opposite plurality in multiple ad groups
Are there benefits to close variants? Why yes, I’m so glad that you asked. You’ll be able to catch conversions with mobile and voice search that you may have missed previously. The new matching may also help you to discover profitable PPC areas.
The chase of lower inefficiencies that can be found in exact match types will come to an end. Also, the change will allow for more focus on landing page optimization and the top ad copy strategy, instead of compiling excessive keyword lists.