AdWords’ Expanded Broad Match and the “1-2 Punch” Are Eating Your Click Money

I recently wrote about an important issue affecting all Google AdWords advertisers – Expanded Broad Match running rampant and wasting advertiser dollars.

Christine and Mike Churchill wrote two excellent posts on the topic here and here. The second post describes the “1-2 Punch” phenomenon that we too have observed: if someone performs a Google search and immediately follows it with a second search, ads from the first search are frequently displayed, even if the second search term used bears no resemblance to the first.

For our clients we’ve been trying to staunch the flow of bad clicks by running the new AdWords Search Query reports frequently and trying to eliminate the bad matches we find by using negative keywords. But the time and effort necessary is excessive, and the bad matches keep coming. We’ve resorted to simply shutting off many broad match terms. We know we’ll lose some clicks and conversions as a result, but that risk is far outweighed by the certainty that our campaigns will continue to hemorrhage money otherwise.

We agree with the Churchills: Google should make Expanded Broad Match optional. When advertisers decide not to bid on broad match terms, everyone loses: searchers don’t see ads relevant to their searches; advertisers lose the ability to reach potential customers; and in the long run Google may lose ad revenue.