How To Separate Match Types In adCenter

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It’s time again to compare and contrast AdWords vs. adCenter. There are a number of differences between how AdWords and adCenter function, and account managers often have to alter their strategy to adjust for these differences. In this post I’m going to take a look at how to split up match types in each search engine, a practice often considered only feasible in AdWords due to their negative keyword match types. During a call with my adCenter rep, I found out that it also possible to implement this strategy in adCenter and wanted to share the process.

It’s a common strategy in AdWords to break out match types in order to manage and optimize them separately. To do so, you need to create separate ad groups for each match type and then add in negatives of the other match types. Below is an example of how your ad groups would be structured.

Separating Match Types in AdWordsSo why can’t you do use this strategy in adCenter? Currently all negative keywords are treated as phrase match keywords, although I’ve heard rumblings that exact match negatives will be available at the beginning of November. Even though adCenter doesn’t offer negative keyword match types, there is still a way to separate match types into different ad groups: forced minimum bidding. In forced minimum bidding, you use the keyword bids to direct search query traffic in adCenter.

How does it work? First you’ll create 3 ad groups, one for each match type. In the exact match ad group you’ll only have exact match keywords. In the phrase match ad group you’ll have exact and phrase match keywords. In the broad match ad group you’ll have exact, phrase, and broad match keywords. Then you assign a minimum bid of $0.05 to each keyword match type that is not in the appropriate ad group and reduce bids for phrase and broad match. It’s a little easier to visualize than it is to explain, so here’s what it would look like:

adCenter Separating Match Types

  • In the Exact Match ad group, set the bid at the level you want for the exact keyword.
  • In the Phrase Match ad group, set the bid for exact match at $0.05 and set the phrase match bid below keyword bid in the Exact Match ad group.
  • In the Broad Match ad group, set the bid for phrase and exact match at $0.05 and set the broad match bid below the bid in the Phrase Match ad group.

By reducing the bids in this way adCenter should filter the instances of each keyword to the appropriate ad group. This process is much more complicated than it is in AdWords, and once the exact match type in adCenter is introduced will be unnecessary. I haven’t given this method a try yet, but if you were wishing for a way to split up match types in adCenter, this is the best strategy available.

We always appreciate feedback, so let us know your thoughts and experiences with this process.

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17 thoughts on “How To Separate Match Types In adCenter

  1. Brian Becerra

    Hey Bethany, 

    I had a question regarding your Adgroup structure by match type in Adwords. 

    My current campaign has each match type in each of their own adgroups, but I haven’t included their relative negative match types within each adgroup like you have described in the chart above. 

    The result of not including these negatives keywords often results in the same keyword’s other match types to not trigger ads. (i.e the status bubble on the phrase match keyword “camera” will not show ads because exact match, [camera], is the keyword triggering the same ad. 

    I understand that by adding those match type negative keywords, it would in essence eliminate that internal competition between similar keywords. 

    I also understand that breaking each adgroup out by match type will allow for easier management and optimization. 

    But with larger accounts with lots of keywords, what would be the difference in having just have one adgoup which includes ALL three match type variations of the same keyword as opposed to breaking out each match type within their own adgroup and including their respective negative match keywords?  


    Adgroup 1  (MBM, PM, & EM)     vs.    Adgroup 1  (MBM)
                                                                                 Adgroup 2  (PM)
                                                                                 Adgroup 3  (EM)

    1. Bethany BeyBethany Bey

      Hi Brian,

      This is a great question. PPC managers often debate on whether or not to separate out match types and my opinion is, do whatever works for you. I prefer to keep all three match types in the same ad group and keep my ad groups themed. I find this helps a lot in large accounts where organization is key. I would say to test each option and see what you feel most comfortable working with.

    2. Marisa

      With huge accounts, this can get crazy to manage. I wouldn’t waste my time doing it for the 80% (or more) of keywords that receive very little traffic – wouldn’t recommend having broad, phrase & exact for those keywords anyways. I do this only for my top converting keywords or keywords where the broad or phrase has the possibility of going crazy, and I want to be able to keep a better eye on the ads without the broad match skewing the data.

  2. Steven Werner

    Couldn’t you achieve the same result, in both Adcenter and Adwords, by bidding on the phrase match a little lower than exact, and bidding on the broad match a little lower than phrase?

    1. Marisa

      Depending on performance & competition, I could want to increase my phrase match higher than my exact match. Then Google would start mapping the exact search to the phrase match keyword instead of my exact match keyword. This just keeps it completely separated without regards to bids.

  3. Kevin

    Interesting article. One thing to note about the broad ad group setup for AdWords is that you would really only need to set phrase negatives as opposed to phrase & exact negatives. The rationale being that the phrase negative will block the exact queries anyway.

    That’s nothing dramatic but it would making managing those particular ad groups a bit easier.

  4. Sean Weigold Ferguson

    Unfortunately, explicit bidding doesn’t really work (despite what your adCenter reps may tell you). If you bid on a [red shoe] with a $0.05 exact match bid, but that bid is “too low to qualify for the auction”, you WILL show up for that keyword triggered by a similar broad match term. Completely defeats the purpose.

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