Do Your PPC Keywords Mean What You Think They Mean?

This past week I was reviewing search query reports (SQRs) and came across a whole batch of keywords related to European soccer. This was perplexing since the advertiser had no products even remotely related to European soccer. So where were these queries coming from? The first step is to add the Keyword column to your SQR.

While looking at your SQR, underneath the tabs in the main area you’ll see a Columns drop down box. Click that and select the “Customize columns” option (as highlighted below)

Customize AdWords Columns

Once open you’ll see the three main areas; Performance, Conversions & Attributes. Choose Attributes and you’ll see the Keyword column. Click “Add” and then Save at the bottom of the window.

Keyword Column

With this column available I could quickly see that the offending keyword was a phrase match on “fixtures”. The British definition of a fixture is a sports match or social event. Thus we were getting impressions (and unfortunately clicks) from searches for Premier League soccer matches and games involving Real Madrid, Bayern Munchen, Arsenal, Chelsea, etc. And keep in mind that this campaign targets only the United States.

“I do not think it means what you think it means”

If you don’t recognize it, the headline above is a quote from the movie The Princess Bride from Inigo Montoya. In the movie the evil genius Vizzini keeps uttering the word “Inconceivable” after each and every feat accomplished by the hero. After a few times, Inigo says “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Are there keywords in your account that don’t mean what you think they mean? I offer a couple examples.

First, what would you call the game with two players, each holding a paddle and volleying a small, white, plastic ball back and forth over a net attached to a table? Most likely you said ping pong, but what if your potential customers answered table tennis?

Second, what if you’re a book seller and you are selling copies of the Bible? Say you’ve got a keyword for “King James” that isn’t performing very well. For any NBA fans, you’ll quickly recognize that King James is a common nickname for LeBron James of the Miami Heat. Not exactly what you’re going for I would guess.

The moral of this story is that many keywords may have more than one meaning, especially when you consider slang usage. You should be reviewing your SQRs regularly to find these terms and adding negative keywords to ensure your ads are getting relevant impressions.