New Google Research: Can The Long Tail Be Covered Without Broad Match?

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Google talks all the time about the necessity of broad match. As a representative of Google, I’ve argued the importance of this match type myself. I believe in broad match, but talking to a lot of advertisers, it’s clear that many aren’t believers.

The common argument we hear is that heavily built-out exact, phrase or broad match modifier keyword lists are enough to cover the long tail.

Luckily, Google is a data-driven company. The product management team for match types actually wonders similar things as you do. Does broad match help you cover the long tail as intended? And can the long tail be covered without broad match?

A few months back, the team conducted a study on broad match performance, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on it. Even better, they were willing to letting me write up the results and share them with you.

The Methodology

Here’s some basic info about the stats I’m about to present:

  • A “long-tail query” in this context means a query that appeared at most 10 times in the time period the data covers (28 days during Q2 2015).
  • The stats I’m presenting here are relatively stable over time (based on studies in 2013, 2014 and 2015).
  • The stats within this study only include advertisers that spend more than 20 percent of their total spend in broad match. (Those that don’t use broad match at all would clearly have zero percent of their spend coming from broad match.)
  • These stats come from advertisers that are tracking conversions in AdWords.
  • All performance numbers are based on last-click conversions, which might not be the friendliest way to measure broad match keywords.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Matt Lawson is the Director of Performance Ads Marketing for Google, responsible for a broad portfolio of ads products including search, shopping, display, and analytics.

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