10 Jul 2012

Google’s Exceptions to Search Query Matching Rules Part 2

July 10, 2012PPC Advertising

We have spent the last two weeks examining how specific ads are triggered when one search query prompts multiple keywords. We have discovered that narrow match types and ad rank often play a large role in deciding which ads are served, however you should know that there are exceptions to every rule. This week we will take a look at those exceptions so you can develop a better understanding of how Google shows ad preference, and why your ads might be appearing as a result of certain search queries.

Restricted campaign budgets play a part in why some ads may not be triggered, even if the keyword is a match. If a search query prompts an ad from a campaign that has already reached its daily budget allowance, then Google will notify the system to use the next possible match. Even if the campaign hasn’t yet exceeded it’s daily budget, the potential traffic from an ad can still deter this ad from being served. This is Google’s way of ensuring that clients stay within their set restricted budget. Google will present a recommended daily budget for you based on your click-through-rates and the maximum bids you want to place.
In some circumstances Google will serve a cheaper ad that has a higher ad rank and Quality Score, even if it matches the search query less than the other keyword. In rare situations, a less relevant ad will be presented as a result of a higher ad rank (but because relevance is a key factor in how an ad or campaign generally performs, this is an unlikely event.) You can run a search query performance report under the “Keywords” tab in AdWords to find examples of when this may be occurring within your campaigns. Depending on what you discover, you may choose to apply negative keywords to the appropriate ad groups, or eliminate the keyword from your campaign entirely. Keeping a close eye on straggling ads will help you manage your accounts, and prevent money from being spent on less profitable ad placements.
Finally, an ad group that contains a YouTube promoted video will take preference over a text ad when search queries are entered on YouTube’s website. For example, imagine that the keyword from the first ad group is “running shoes”, and is used in correlation with a text ad. A second keyword is “athletic shoe”, and is used with a YouTube promoted video. Even though the second keyword matches the query less closely, it will be served because of its relation to the YouTube promoted video, and because the query was entered on YouTube’s page.
It’s important to understand the exceptions to these rules and how Google chooses which ads to present upon the entry of search queries. By keeping a close eye on your campaigns, you will be able to eliminate or revise keywords that trigger irrelevant ads so that you are getting the most out of your PPC dollars. Setting appropriate budgets and using ads to promote YouTube videos are other good way to ensure that you are getting as many clicks as possible. When in doubt, visit your “Keywords” tab in AdWords to run search query performance reports and make the appropriate changes to your campaign’s ad serving.