A new type of Broad Match keyword has recently been seen – but only in Search Query reports. So what does it actually mean?
First, let me take you back to early 2006, and a campaign I was managing for a manufacturer of wide-screen TV’s.
They adopted a very strict "online sales only" strategy, took no phone calls for orders, and ensured that their online advertising spend was totally accountable for what it earned by tracking conversions from TVs ordered.
The strategy and the campaign was very sound, and by building out the keyword inventory we could target both generic terms and specific brands we wanted to position ourselves as alternatives for.
Sales increased and cost of sales drastically reduced.
The campaign suddenly tanked. Conversions dramatically reduced, and cost of sales rose sharply.
In those days, you could not pause keywords – to turn them off you had to delete them (and face the consequences).
It was a scramble to get those keywords back into the campaign – fast. (You could view deleted keywords, and reassemble them by using a screen capture and a spreadsheet, not pretty, but it worked).
I remember being totally amazed by this seemingly counter-intuitive result, and since I was attending Perry Marshal’s seminar in 2006 I mentioned it to Howie Jacobson (I’m sure he does not remember that) to see if he had any insight. He was as surprised as I.
Fast forward to 2009 and the situation is as relevant today as it was 3 years ago.
I call it the "Keyword Life-Cycle".
Some keywords have more commercial intent than others, but all users of Search Engines "don’t know what they don’t know" to start with.
So they start off with general search terms and refine them from "Browse", to "Shop" to "Buy" over time.
Conversion tracking in Google AdWords (and Analytics) is only attributable to the actual converting keyword, not what "enabled" it.
Point is – if you do not have the (non-converting) "Browse" keywords in your campaign, you cannot get to the keywords with commercial intent which enable the journey from browse to shop to buy.
By removing the non-converting "Browse" keywords from the ClearDragon TV campaign which got people to the store to start with – we inadvertently killed it (but only with the best intentions!)
In recent conversations with my Google Relationship Manager, this disconnect from "browsing" to "buying" keywords is still in place. The mighty Google does not yet have an answer…
Even Conversion Optimizer is not exempt from it (I was hoping otherwise) – and Conversion Opimizer works really well, too.
So what’s the link between Session-Based keywords and conversion tracking? And why should you be interested?
Google explain more here.
It means that Google are getting smarter about the whole "keyword life-cycle" that users are conducting when they’ve searched for, and clicked on your ad.
And that the possibility of knowing which keyword *started* the sale is getting higher.
So you needn’t inadvertently delete (pause) non-converting keywords which have strategic value to your campaigns.
As I did in 2006 …