Broad Match Modifier:

A Broad Match Modifier is a variation on the traditional Broad Match for your keyword matching options. They can drive an improved reach and ROI. We’ll illustrate in a case study for a community bank client later in this blog. First, some basics on how the Broad Match Modifier works.
Broad match modifier keyword research analyst holding laptop.

The Broad Match Modifier as Your Ultimate Reach: How it Works

When setting up your keyword match types, Broad Match gives you the most reach and variability in the searches your ad can appear on. In addition, the keyword’s cost-per-click (CPC) tends to be lower than using phrase or exact match. For example, if you have set up the keyword “men’s shoes” as a broad match, your ad can appear whenever AdWords thinks it’s relevant. The ad could be triggered by searches like “shoes for men,” “men’s tennis shoes,” “dress shoes for men” or “loafers for guys.” It can appear on any synonym, plural or variation AdWords thinks is appropriate.

This results in a wide reach to a lot of different searchers. However often times the reach is too wide and you are getting clicks (each one costing you money) from searchers who are not looking for your particular product. You are selling dress shoes and your ad is appearing in searches for tennis shoes.

Phrase and Exact Match will focus your ads to appear in front of a much more limited set of searchers. Often times, they narrow the search down too much. The result is you don’t achieve the necessary impression volume you need to reach your marketing goals. What you need is a better balance of reaching a larger audience and yet focusing in on your product – and the Broad Match Modifier affords you exactly this balance.

What is Broad Match Modifier and how does it differ from straight Broad Match?

Broad Match Modifier will allow you to maintain a larger reach for different searches, while giving you some ability to focus the searches that your ad appears upon.

When Broad Match Modifier is used, a “+” is placed in front of a keyword, telling AdWords to include that word “as is” in the search. Then the keyword can appear in any order in the actual search query, but the modified word or a close variation (plurals, stems, etc.) must be included.

For example:

The keyphrase “+women’s hats” could trigger an ad to appear when the searcher types in “women’s caps,” “white hats for women” or “women’s red caps.” It would not appear on “girl’s hats” because the modifier keyword “women’s” (or a close variation) was not included in the search.

In addition, you can use Broad Match Modifier to modify multiple words in your larger keyphrase you are bidding on:

The keyphrase “+women’s +hats” will trigger your ad when the searchers enter “women’s hats,” “hats for women,” “women’s blue hats” or “lacy women’s hats.” Your ad would not be triggered without both “women’s” and “hats” included in the search. Remember that the order of the words does not matter. This allows for a broader reach than phrase match where the order is maintained.

Case Study: Broad Match Modifier for a Community Bank’s AdWords Campaigns

One of our clients, a community bank, wished to target real estate investors searching for multi-family properties. After developing an initial keyword list with a split of 30% broad match, 30% phrase match and 40% exact match, the campaign was launched. We targeted three medium size cities and six counties.

After one week’s worth of traffic, we analyzed the results, both from a conversion-to-lead basis and from a search query basis. The phrase and exact match traffic was very low. The traffic we did see performed well but at too low volume to meet the client’s goals.

Broad match generated plenty of traffic volume but a very low conversion rate. When we reviewed the search queries (Search Terms Report) that were driving the clicks, we saw a lot of consumer-based traffic. Terms being bid upon, such as “apartment building loan,” were triggering the client’s ads for terms such as “loans for apartment” and “loans to buy an apartment.” Traffic from these searches would land on the site and exit after it became apparent the bank was offering loans to purchase apartment buildings, not just one apartment. The Broad Match traffic was converting to a lead at less than a 0.5% rate.

Modifying the Broad Match List

We worked with the client to modify the Broad Match list into a more focused Broad Match Modifier list. Some of the terms were updated to Broad Match Modifier, for example:

“apartment building loan” became “+apartment+building+loan.” This had our client showing up for more relevant searches, such as “loans for apartment buildings” and “loans to buy apartment building.”

Results: CTR went from 1.85% to 3.99% in the first week. Conversion rates jumped from 1.78% to 5.10%.

“financing rental units” became “financing+rental+units.” The client’s ads began showing for searches on “best rates for financing rental units” and “banks who finance rental units purchase,” among others.

Results: CTR went from 2.57% to 3.77% in the first week. Conversion rates jumped from 0.78% to 4.22%.

A Winning Campaign

Over the course of two weeks across the entire campaign, we saw the traffic from the Broad Match list (now a Broad Match Modifier list) improve its conversion-to-lead rate to 4.1% while still maintaining a strong volume. The search queries driving the clicks were much more relevant to the ideal customer profile we had developed at the start of the engagement.

We were also able to add to our Phrase and Exact Match list based on analyzing the post-change search queries. We found a series of phrases that were not originally identified and added them to the appropriate ad groups.

Broad Match Modifier allowed our client to run ads in a limited geographic area with a more specific set of targeting options that resulted in improved conversion rates.

By John Thyfault, Vice President of Search Engine and Social Media Marketing, Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc.

Read more digital marketing case studies in Resources.

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Broad Match Modifier: How We Greatly Improved the Click-Through and Conversion Rates for a Community Bank Using Broad Match Modifiers in Google AdWords
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Broad Match Modifier: How We Greatly Improved the Click-Through and Conversion Rates for a Community Bank Using Broad Match Modifiers in Google AdWords
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A Broad Match Modifier is variation on the traditional Broad Match for your keyword matching options. They can drive an improved reach and ROI. We’ll illustrate in a case study for a community bank client later in this blog.
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Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc.
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