The Big Little Lies of Paid Search

by Common Thread Collective Collaborator

Jul. 24 2019

By: Charlcie Sais, Paid Search Specialist


If you haven’t seen HBO’s Big Little Lies:

  1. You’re missing out. 
  2. The basic premise is that a seemingly small lie can ruin your whole life. 

Even though we’re not the brains behind the hit HBO show, our great minds at CTC have found that this same premise applies to paid search on Google – one little lie can cause a lot of havoc in your ad account.  

Here are 3 “Pay-Per-Click Little Lies” that can have a big impact on your ad account’s success if you don’t get to the truth of the issue: 

Lie #1: Using broad match is an easy way to get volume on search.

In true Big Little Lies style, I’m going to make a shocking confession to you: I don’t use broad match in any of our clients’ accounts. Why? Because any value it brings is heavily outweighed by wasted spend. 

There. Is. So. Much. Wasted. Spend. With. Broad. Match. 

When you use Broad Match, you’re giving Google the freedom to appear in searches only loosely associated with a given term. So instead of gambling with search campaigns, I recommend using shopping campaigns to generate keyword ideas. 

With this strategy, you’re allowing Google to match your product description to potential searches as opposed to relying on a given keyword with no additional context.

Lie #2: Smart Shopping campaigns are a better placement because they have a better return.

When using Smart Shopping campaigns, you’re unable to utilize shopping as a keyword generation solution because there is zero transparency into what search terms your ads show up for. 

Does that mean most of your conversions could be coming from branded searches and you would have no idea? Yes.

Even more shockingly, Smart Shopping campaigns include remarketing placements. This means that you have no visibility into whether you are acquiring a conversion from a top-of-the-funnel search or simply converting a previous visitor from another channel.

 Not only have we been able to achieve a better return with “regular” shopping campaigns vs. Smart Shopping for our clients, but it’s also more scalable because we know exactly who is converting within those campaigns and how valuable that customer is in relation to their position in the funnel.

Lie #3: If you want a lot of volume, you need to target a lot of keywords.

When working in a new account, it can be really tempting to go overboard on targeting any and every potential keyword. As any Big Little Lies fan knows, you must resist temptation. 

A fundamental best practice is to have no more than 10 - 15 keywords in a given ad group. 

Why? By narrowing your keywords around a specific theme you can ensure that you’ll display relevant ad text. Ideally, an ad’s first headline should reflect keyword specific copy in order to resonate immediately with the user.