Podcast #7

2021 Google Ads Update: Say Goodbye to Broad Match Modifiers

In July, Google Ads will be rolling out a new update for its platform. They are taking away broad match modifiers and replacing them by expanding phrase match. By doing so, advertisers will be able to target a more-specific audience; their ads will match the intent a user is searching for. Listen as our hosts discuss the ins and outs of the Google Ads update and the reasons behind this new shift.

Episode Highlights:

Rich Briddock

Rich Briddock: “What Google has decided to do is, it’s taking away broad-match modified keywords in July. You will not be able to add any new broad-match modified keywords.”

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Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex MembrilloWelcome everybody to Ignite, you guys are in for a treat today. We’re going to get tactical and talk PPC, or as the new kids call it Google Ads. We’re here with Rich Briddock. He’s our SVP of performance marketing, hails from the best agencies in the country, mostly Cardinal, where he’s helped our clients grow from 200 to 300 locations and helped grow our media management from– What was it when you started, Rich? What were we managing? Like, 300 K a month, 100 K a month, 10 years ago?

Rich BriddockAbout 150, I think.

Alex: What are we doing a month now?

Rich: About 3 million.

Alex: Yes, 3 million. Not bad. I think it’s way higher with this. I think it’s closer to 5 million now, but yes, let’s go with 3 million. He’s good at this, and you guys are going to learn a lot from his PPC wizardry. Today, talking about modified broad match types removed, why does that matter? Why does that matter? Does it matter Google’s always messing with us? How do you know what matters?

Rich: It doesn’t really matter that much in terms of having a material impact on your performance, but, essentially, what Google has decided to do is, it’s taken away broad match modified keywords, or they will be taking them away from July. You will not be able to add any new broad-match modified keywords. For everybody who doesn’t know what a broad match modified keyword is, it’s kind of in-between phrase and broad match in terms of allowing advertisers to cast a pretty wide net, by if a search query matches the keywords in any order that you’ve put in that broad match modified keyword, then your ad is eligible to show in the auction.

Alex: Why did they get rid of it?

Rich: They got rid of it because– There’s a number of school of thoughts, they say that by expanding phrase match to actually capture what they call “the best bits of broad match modified,” which is, keywords that have the same intent as phrase match, even though they’re ordered in a slightly different way, or search queries that have the same intent, but are ordered in a slightly different way, that advertisers will still be able to match to the terms that have the intent that they’re looking for.

They won’t match to queries that have the intent that they are not looking for, which is happening now, in theory, if you are managing your broad match modified in a more kind of laissez-faire type way, you may match the queries that have an intent that doesn’t really match the business. The example that they gave is, moving a company New York to Boston. You might bid on plus moving, plus company, plus New, plus York, plus Boston. If you’re doing phrase match, you got moving company New York to Boston. You know the intent. You’re looking to move from New York to Boston.

A broad match modified, you will match the queries of people looking to move from New York to Boston, but you will also match when people are looking to move from Boston to New York, which is not what you do. They’re saying, “In our new version, we’ll still capture the intent of people who are actually looking to move from New York to Boston, but you won’t match for people who are looking to match from Boston to New York.”

Alex: That’s what they’re saying, to improve the user experience. What’s the real reason they’re doing it?

Rich: The real reason is– I think there are two reasons. One, they are trying to get more advertisers to use straight broad match, not broad match modified, but actual broad match keywords. The reason for this is, with broad match modified most agencies, in particular, have steered well clear of broad match because you match it to a bunch of erroneous things, or at least you used to do in the past. It was a nightmare to manage from negative keyword additions all the time and coming through search query it was like every single day and trying to figure out where Google was spending your money in the wrong place.

Google is now saying, “We have smart bidding, and our smart bidding is really, really fantastic.” Actually, you should use a combination of smart bidding and broad match to find all these tangential searches that are relevant to your business, but that no one is in the option for because their keyword list isn’t expansive enough. Essentially, what Google has realized is, they’ve got all these super competitive auctions because people’s keyword lists are generally the same. Then you’ve got all these auctions somewhere else where there’s hardly anybody participating, even though the intent of the user is the same, is because the keyword list is too narrow. Google is saying is, “Go to strike broad. We know what these matching queries are and these other auctions over here, and our algorithms will make sure you get into them, and you will get cheaper conversions.” I think the other thing, as a cynic, that I think is causing this as well is that Google is on a mission to deliver a direct-to-consumer product. By simplifying the setup, and making it more algorithmic, and making it more black box, they’re basically presenting, A, anybody can do this Google Ads approach, you don’t need expert help, and they’re trying to go direct to the consumer.

That is their motivation. Obviously, as an agency specialist, I don’t believe in that approach, but that is ultimately what they’re trying to do, is somewhat undercut agencies to get the dollars that currently go to agencies to go directly to them immediately.

Alex: Oh, I hope this fails. [laughs]

Rich: There’s so much more to just setting up some ads and letting Google dictate where you spend all your advertising on.

Alex: Historically, there’s always been the biggest problem in the accounts that are run by Google. They got the Google Team on whatever it was, the Express thing, and they put your money into display, and they put your money into all kinds of keywords that no one cares about and have no intent. The person managing your money is typically not the most objective. That’s very tricky.

Rich: The other thing is, there’s always proficiency levels no matter what you’re doing. If you’re running a relatively simple build account and you’re trying to manipulate the algorithm to get the most out of it, an agency that is geared towards embracing smart display, and maximizing the output of the algorithm, and has a lot of playbooks and systems and processes that are designed to structure your account to get the maximum amount of return from the algorithm is still going to set up an account much better than somebody who was never on Google Ads before.

Alex: Good, clients, don’t fire us yet. Now, back to how that impacts clients, what does that matter for advertisers? Anything they need to know or do?

Rich: Not really. I think, if you still have BMM keywords until July, then they will still behave- the historical BMM keywords that you’ve had in the account will still behave that way post-UI. Phrase match will encompass a lot of the queries that you’re matching to your BMM historically. There won’t be a massive material impact. Obviously, if you are going to go down Google suggested route and go on straight broad and use smart bidding, I’d say just be very careful, have low campaign caps as you get started, make sure you’re actually seeing return.

Make sure you’re actually verifying the quality of these leads on the back end before you dive headfirst into that, because while some of these queries may be relevant, we may find out that they’re not quite as qualified. They don’t convert from a lead to an actual sale at the same level, the same ratio.

Alex: Lower campaign costs and just be careful. Your T smart bidding. Let’s talk about that on the next one. You hear it here, guys, broad match modifier, removing that, all part of Google’s intention to try to drive a direct-to-consumer product and get more advertising dollars out of the auctions that don’t have a lot of competitors already in it. It’s a ply for more money for Google. No surprise there, but shouldn’t impact you a ton with this change. Listen to the smart bidding discussion. That one’s coming up next. Rich, thanks for joining.

Rich: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketingSubscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

[00:09:11] [END OF AUDIO]

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