Google AdwordsGoogle Adwords allows you to present your ad with keywords that are searched exactly, broadly or by phrase. However, some of the match options do not work well for lead generation.

Here are Google’s examples of different match types:

Exact using […]

Exact match keywords: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
[tennis shoes] tennis shoes red tennis shoes
buy tennis shoes


Broad match keyword: Ads may show on searches for:
low-carb diet plan carb-free foods
low-carb diets
low-calorie recipes
Mediterranean diet plans
low-carbohydrate dietary program

Broad match modifier using +…

Broad match with a modifier: Ads may show on searches for:
blue +suede +shoes “blue suede shoes”
“suede blue shoes”
“suede shoes blue”

Phrase using “…”

Phrase match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
“tennis shoes” red leather tennis shoes
buy tennis shoes on sale
red tennis shoes
shoes for tennis
tennis sneakers laces


The key to a high click-through rate (CTR) that will have low cost per acquisition (CPA) is to know what keyword phrases your target is going to search for, but not to have the phrases be too broad. “Exact” works the best, but you are missing other term configurations, and you may be missing terms you do not know about. Below is the best approach to set up a campaign.

Exact – Set terms you know will work well, and bid high.

Broad – Test terms to figure out which ones convert – and discover new terms. Bid low, because the quality of the majority of these terms will often not be very good.

Broad Match with Modifier – Works well with phrases and captures all search possibilities. People often enter searches in a way that they would not speak or write. Broad matches with modifiers capture these searches. Bid medium to high.

Phrase – Phrase is a very wide net. I rarely use it for lead generation, but it does work for branding campaigns and/ or when the terms are very specific and not used in any other industry or use case.

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Greg Ahern
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