The Mad Scientists of Paid Search — SMX Advanced Session Recap
Honoring a long-standing SMX Advanced tradition, 3 mad scientists share test results and analyze trends to unlock the secrets of attribution and paid search behaviors. Here's a recap of their session by contributor Mona Elesseily.
In this lively paid search session, each of the Mad Scientist speakers brought fresh ideas, data and insight to our fast-paced world of paid search and consumer intent. Here is an overview of what they shared.
Andy Taylor, Merkle
Andy made five main points in his presentation:
1. Changes to exact match close variants
Initially, Merkle didn’t see a huge change, but they saw click volume increases by the end of 2017.
Here are some of his findings:
- Andy estimates that 20 percent of exact match traffic came from close variants on a desktop by the end of 2017 for the median advertiser studied.
- They converted at a 20-25 percent lower rate than true exact matches.
- There was a 3-6 percent drag on the non-brand exact match.
You don’t want to fall off the first page because of close variant changes, so be sure to look at structured query reporter (SQR) for negative terms and filter them out where appropriate.
Changes can have an effect on multiple groups. For example, the phrase [homemade pop tart] could get pulled into an [artisan pop tart] ad group. He noted close variant changes corresponded to a recent change to ad rank. With this, Google emphasized the meaning of the query and was weighing bids more than quality score.
Andy also talked about phrase and broad match and thinks there is no big difference. Singular to plural terms or plural to singular was where he saw the biggest difference. Close variants will continue to grow, and a true exact match is not coming back.
2. Need for speed
People are now looking for near-immediate fulfillment when doing their online shopping. Andy noted the growth of “same day” and “fast shipping” (vs. free shipping). He said it’s because we already expect free shipping in some way, shape or form.