Google Match Types Expand Again, as AI’s rise continues

Google continued their march toward automation with their most recent changes to broad match and phrase match match types.


The changes further extend the queries that may trigger a given keyword so that we now officially have full semantic matching.  This means fewer keywords are required to cover your products and services but you have less direct control of the terms which ads will appear for. For more detailed info on the announcement Search Engine Land have a good write up.


Historically this would have been an issue, as queries that are semantically very close may have very different values, and therefore require different bidding.  As such there will be plenty of people incensed by this change as they feel they now have less control.


This however misses or dismisses the growing availability of Artificial Intelligence based features in Google Ads (under the Smart banner). The final bullet point in Google’s blog “Deploy Smart Bidding” is crucial.  This AI driven bidding feature considers not only the keyword that triggered the ad, but the search query that was entered.  More than that, it will look at tens or hundreds of factors when bidding to reach your stated goals.  So the need to minutely manage every single permutation of a term in its own single keyword adgroup (the dreaded SKAG) or even campaign is thankfully enormously reduced.


The naysayers will rail against this change and doubtless release myriad scripts and techniques to work against it.  But ultimately this is King Canute stuff, fighting against the tide.  By understanding and working with automation and AI features you can deliver stronger results and add value in areas beyond the technocratic heavy lifting of old.  For more on this I recommend Frederick Vallaeys’ recent book, Digital Marketing in an AI World.


This is not to say you should simply hand Google the keys and let them burn off into the sunset.  Monitoring performance, restructuring and building out new negative lists will be vital.  But embrace the direction of travel and work to understand and master it.


If you want to find out more about how to maximise emerging Google features to supercharge your paid media work then drop us a line.  We’d love to hear from you.