How Google Killed the Broad Match Keyword…

Sometimes, even for the largest companies, adjustments and changes in one place can have unexpected consequences. Certainly, as the world’s largest advertising network continues to turn the screw on advertisers, the cracks are appearing.

When we first started using Google Adwords, in the early days, it was clear that this was a gravy train for most of our clients – a simple, easy way to generate income and business.

What Is a Broad Match Keyword?

A broad match keyword is one which initially matched based on the words appearing in any sequence or spacing in a phrase. So, for example, if your broad match was for Car Finance
Your advert would appear for phrases with ‘car’ and ‘finance’ in them. From ‘How can I finance my car‘ to ‘What kind of car needs finance?’
However as Google had searches to fill, and also realised that it was a pain to manage misspells, it broadened the reach of ‘broad match’ to being:
Broad match lets a keyword trigger your ad to show whenever someone searches for that phrase, similar phrases, singular or plural forms, misspellings, synonyms, stemming (such as floor and flooring), related searches and other relevant variations.”

What this means is that actually, no longer is the match broad, it is ridiculously broad. It means that your keywords could appear for phrases like ‘cat finance’ or ‘van financing’. Making ‘broad match’ look more like a ‘vague match’.

What This Meant Until 2016

Until early this year, there was still a way to get a broad match to work. This meant doing three things:

  1. Using a + for the most important keywords, was an adjustment made by Google in response to this concern. So, if you use ‘+car’ then ‘car’ has to be in the phrase you are bidding on, and
  2. Being more aggressive on negative keywords to avoid bidding on the wrong phrases, and
  3. Targeting lower positions in the search rankings to achieve a lower cost per click would make the lack of targeting affordable

And that was all right for the recent past, but now the final nail has been driven into the broad match coffin – the reduction in listing numbers in February.

This tactical move from Google was designed to limit the number of positions for Pay Per Click so that advertisers would be forced to pay a premium for advertising or find somewhere else to generate business.

However, the knock-on effect is that because the targeting is so loose, and cost has risen, the return on investment is no longer there for most broad match phrases. Most advertisers should be looking very carefully at the performance of these kinds of matches.

Broad Match Keyword Changes: Was it Unexpected, or was it Planned?

Of course, this suggests that this kind of ripple effect is down to a sequence of unfortunate events over which Google has little or no control. Yet we know this is not the case, that Google checks everything, tests everything and launches based on its data.

What this change has effectively done is squeezed more out of the busy and competitive phrases but at the expense of longer tail income. It’s a challenge: search overall is slowly sinking and Google needs to continue the momentum or their share price will suffer.

The Ergo Digital View: Short-Term Win, but Long-Term Irreversible Loss

We maintain that this is, however, a short-term decision and will have a negative impact in due course. It is relying on the inertia of advertisers not to spot that they are suddenly paying more for less.

However, there is a problem: the one piece of data which Google cannot work out through short-term testing is long-term trends and effects. Inertia is not permanent, and customers will get wise (some faster than others) to the lessening performance.

Given all the tools we have at our disposal, tracking, attribution and conversions, we can see enough to tell us when something needs to be optimised ‘out’.

And, so it’s time to publish the obituary for broad match. It was fun while it lasted.

Goodnight and thanks for all the clicks!

Achieve Growth That Works

Examples Of Our CRM Work

CRM Toynbee Associates

Building Business

The practice had just recruited a manager and was looking to bring together all their enquiries and proposals into one place. We recommended, configured and launched a CRM for them that gave them visibility over all their leads.

As they developed their services, and added to their team, we let them adapt and shape the process to remain ahead of the pack.

Good Prospects

With a growing sales team, and a range of clients and business partners with differing demands, we needed to not only store records, but also to drive the business forward.

We set up the various Opportunities, Tasks, Tracks and Tags to match the way in which the business went about the value chain and to segment their prospects and customers. We imported all the data from their previous CRM to track and store everything. We helped with adoption, and now no lead or opportunity goes to waste.

CRM Unloq

Examples Of Our Create Work

Branding Flexspace

Building a Brand

Flexspace was a merger of a much smaller business and an established portfolio of commercial spaces. It needed a modern brand which combined some of the palettes of the established businesses, but also developed something fresh for future marketing.

The combination of blue, yellow and white is strong and yet flexible, offering a distinctive and confident brand, whether on a billboard or website.

A Fluid Solution

Taking on an unexpected full rebrand in thirty days was not necessarily part of the remit, but we’re always up for a challenge.

New iconography in place with a subtle and yet distinct nod to hydraulics and the ‘D’ for Domin. We also founded and formed a proper brand book to ensure that consistency remains in place for cross-media activity.

Branding Domin

Examples Of Our Video Work

Video Unloq

It's a Big Deal

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, clarity of message and presentation is paramount. We worked closely with the client, writing a script, choosing a voice-over artist, stitching together images, video and illustrations.

The two videos were short enough to share on social media, but professional enough to take pride of place on the website – raising the profile and credibility of Unloq and with more to come.

Another Level

How best to display some of the finest tree houses and climbing frame builds in the UK? We used a combination of close-up and drone footage to showcase Gardenatics’ custom builds.

It makes the website stand out, differentiating from the competition and justifying the quality and value on display. It has helped them continue to win new clients across England and Wales looking for that premium option.

Video Gardenatics

Examples Of Our Ads Work

Ads Chargebase

Charging Up

With a number of local teams, we needed to come up with an ad strategy that ensured that the value of the job, and the journey time would make profitable commercial and residential enquiries for Chargebase.

A lightweight, geographically tight, precisely worded set of campaigns was plugged into the business. And the lights went on!

Filling Work Spaces

With 50 locations, an average of 100 units per location and four different types of units, with most being filled by short term tenants, we needed to create a flexible advertising structure that would work for Flexspace.

Every month we switch regional, location, unit and specific promotions on across the board to match the tactical advertising from their in-house team. Their website is the single largest lead driver in their business. You’re welcome!

Ads Flexspace

Examples Of Our Websites Work

Websites Chargebase

Powerful Presence

It’s always exciting working on a new venture. Chargebase has developed a direct-to-market proposition for car chargers, as well as a turnkey approach to home electrical work.

From developing their branding, building two distinct websites with two different online lead generation strategies, we have worked with the management team to launch a one of the South East’s leading EV specialists.

Making Connections

We have moved HCL from an expensive exercise in bug-fixing of two frustrating shopping sites to a rapidly growing successful online enterprise.

There are two brand new shops, generating four times the revenues of the previous incarnations, as well as a lead generation website covering their offshore and seawater protection systems for wind turbines, electric cables and offshore constructions.

Websites HCL Fasteners

Examples Of Our Lead Generation Work

Lead Generation Nautilus Sailing

Enquiries Ahoy

Having worked with Nautilus Sailing for over ten years, through three websites where we developed and optimised a highly effective lead generation system, we have helped them grow from two locations to eight. From two instructors to a team of ten.

They focus on running the finest skipper school on the planet, we get them the customers who want the best experience.

Charging Forward

It should be simple to find leads for EV charging in the South East of England, but sometimes what looks easy is, in fact, a real technical challenge.

Firstly, whilst there is a lot of searching for EV points, we only want to target those who want an installation. Secondly, we also need to avoid congested areas where there is only on-street parking. Finally, they had a preference for commercial, not residential installations.

Not so simple, but we plugged away and found a steady flow of electric leads.

Lead Generation Chargebase

Examples Of Our AI and Automations Work

AI & Automations Unloq

Enhancing Connections

Storing business data is easy, it’s tough to make it accessible as and when it is needed. We worked closely with Unloq so not only do they track all projects, contacts, businesses and introductions, but also these are all within reach. Company records are enhanced using API and AI technology.

We have also joined up digital signing, mailing data, contact records, online dashboards and project tracking to make sure that all is synchronised and efficient.

Build Smarter

An engineering firm wanted to build business but also be equipped to grow. With a new practice manager in place who was committed to digital transformation, we integrated CRM, task management and project tracking systems to create a system that works for them.

It now tracks quotes, commissions business, pushes through deadlines, keeps clients aware of progress and helps them deliver high quality structural engineering projects on time and on brief.

AI & Automations Toynbee Associates

Examples Of Our Communicate Work

Organic Nautilus Sailing

Organically Sourced

In my line of work, each visit is valuable due to the specialized nature of the field. Instead of prioritizing quantity, we put more emphasis on the quality of inquiries.

Through our analysis, we identified specific keywords that were highly effective in generating leads for Nautilus. To capitalize on this, we created two separate websites catering to different audiences and tailored them to different sets of keyword clusters.

Charging Up

With a number of local teams, we needed to come up with an ad strategy that ensured that the value of the job, and the journey time would make profitable commercial and residential enquiries for Chargebase.

A lightweight, geographically tight, precisely worded set of campaigns was plugged into the business. And the lights went on!

Ads Chargebase

Examples Of Our Content Work

Content Gardenatics

Perfect Platform

What is there not to love about kids and garden play? The photos are great, settings wonderful and the structures are pretty awesome. But, to be honest, you can’t have photos of children included and then all the structures are based around the same ‘ingredients’.

So, you need to become storytellers, as tree houses and adventure play is about the joy and fun to be had by small and large adventurers as their ideas spark into life. It’s the story we tell!

Gripping Stuff

When you have a range of products that is not very ‘instagrammable’ then it’s easy to lose sight of why they matter and how to promote them effectively. Though these products are small and seemingly uninspiring, they are vitally important to the users.

They stop leaks and breakdowns, electrocution and pier collapse. They help machines function, and cars motor. In short, there is a lot to say, if you have imagination.

Content HCL Fasteners

Examples Of Our Organic Work

Organic Nautilus Sailing

Organically Sourced

In my line of work, each visit is valuable due to the specialized nature of the field. Instead of prioritizing quantity, we put more emphasis on the quality of inquiries.

Through our analysis, we identified specific keywords that were highly effective in generating leads for Nautilus. To capitalize on this, we created two separate websites catering to different audiences and tailored them to different sets of keyword clusters.

To Another Level

Having worked with Flexspace on two iterations of their website the biggest challenge has been leveraging their sites and types of property to build a range of keywords to reach business owners.

Whilst the first website was effective in building traffic, we learned so much from that process that round two (six years later) was another step uo. Structure and internal linking was optimised for a wide range of relevant keywords which built a steady flow of converting organic traffic to Flexspace.

Organic Flexspace

Examples Of Our Ecommerce Work

E-Commerce Domin

Manning the Pumps

If you’re challenging an established industry where cost, supply chain and value is a mystery, then what better way to differentiate than do the opposite.

We created transparent pricing, clear discounts, delivery expectations and global dispatch. Each product had about a thousand combinations, so clients could order exactly what they wanted.

Another Class

  • The world’s leading ASA sailing training courses
  • A complex quality website built on WordPress
  • Branding, messaging and content delivery
  • Delivered the full funnel from click to sale
  • Advised on product margin and pricing
  • Exclusively digitally sourced business has grown from $100k to $1.5m turnover
  • 4x organic traffic, and 10x paid traffic, whilst maintaining the same conversion rates 
  • Established CRM and sales workflows to optimise bookings
E-Commerce Nautilus Sailing

Examples Of Our Customer Success Work

Customer Success Flexspace

Prefilling Space

Offering short leases and contracts to small and startup businesses leads to challenges for Flexspace. Every unit is up for renewal every year. Furthermore, with standard attrition within small enterprises, there is always space coming available.

Yet, with a building database and a ready list of prospective, as well as existing clients, we have advised them on systems and strategies to convert more of their database and to see problems for fill rate before it becomes a critical problem.

Making Sales Buoyant

With a growing reputation, but skippering being seen as a one-hit sale, it seemed that repeat business would be a challenge. However, Nautilus had two strategies we were able to support with very effective marketing campaigns.

Firstly, they now have an Alumni network called ‘The Tribe’ who regularly go on flotillas with each other, coordinated by Nautilus. Secondly, they have catamaran deliveries where different teams are assembled to take their boats point to point, often across oceans – another level of experience!

Customer Success Nautilus Sailing

Examples Of Our Branding Work

Branding Flexspace

Building a Brand

Flexspace was a merger of a much smaller business and an established portfolio of commercial spaces. It needed a modern brand which combined some of the palettes of the established businesses, but also developed something fresh for future marketing.

The combination of blue, yellow and white is strong and yet flexible, offering a distinctive and confident brand, whether on a billboard or website.

A Fluid Solution

Taking on an unexpected full rebrand in thirty days was not necessarily part of the remit, but we’re always up for a challenge.

New iconography in place with a subtle and yet distinct nod to hydraulics and the ‘D’ for Domin. We also founded and formed a proper brand book to ensure that consistency remains in place for cross-media activity.

Branding Domin

Examples Of Our Convert Work

E-Commerce Domin

Manning the Pumps

If you’re challenging an established industry where cost, supply chain and value is a mystery, then what better way to differentiate than do the opposite.

We created transparent pricing, clear discounts, delivery expectations and global dispatch. Each product had about a thousand combinations, so clients could order exactly what they wanted.

Enquiries Ahoy

Having worked with Nautilus Sailing for over ten years, through three websites where we developed and optimised a highly effective lead generation system, we have helped them grow from two locations to eight. From two instructors to a team of ten.

They focus on running the finest skipper school on the planet, we get them the customers who want the best experience.

Lead Generation Nautilus Sailing

Examples Of Our Social Work

Social Gardenatics

Quality Posts

Tree houses and climbing frames are really easy to share, every family loves some active play. However, for Gardenatics we needed to make sure that we selected the right strategies for the right platforms.

In particular, the Pinterest channel we created for them gave great scope and leverage for the brand, as photos of builds were pinned far and wide and, given the bespoke nature of the constructions – future customers knew the best brand to help them with their garden was, of course, our client.

Financially Vested

Unloq’s aim is to stand out and be different in the M&A world, but at the same time, to give confidence in the services they offer. They have to both be confident and discreet, persuasive but measured.

Our social media strategy is to ensure that we use a combination of videos, stings, dynamic messages and text to continue to reinforce the values and services which make our client the best route to inorganic business growth.

Social Unloq

Examples Of Our Systems Work

IT Systems Unloq

Positively Paperless

Our client had already adopted some systems, and whilst using cloud-based technologies, it was still mainly mail, calendar, documents and spreadsheets.

We worked closely with them first putting in place a CRM, then a no-code platform to run their projects and have continued to make them more efficient, paperless and collaborative than ever before.

Navigating Technology

When we initially worked with Nautilus, they had grown successfully on an inbox and a spreadsheet. For a small business, that makes sense and keeps it simple, but it becomes harder the more conversations, quotes and bookings are managed.
It became clear that they needed to collaborate and track more.

With an envious Tripadvisor rating, their customers expect the perfect experience. Having scoped out their requirements, we helped them choose the right CRM and then helped scope it out to fit their needs perfectly. Now their office team of four can work together, using a range of communication channels to get the job done.

IT Systems Nautilus Sailing

Examples Of Our Analytics Work

Analytics Flexspace

Unit Measurements

One extensive website with an enormous range of pages and content, where offers adapt every month to the demands of the clients, and capacity changes meaning that conversions never stay the same.

So, we report and analyse every month, understand how the different areas of the website are performing, receive briefings from our client and adapt for the month ahead.

On the Right Track

Two websites offering a wide range of services, where quality leads are of high value, but there are large volumes of time-wasters, it is vital to ensure that every lead is accounted for.

Our ‘secret source’ for them tracks from Ads, Organic, Google Analytics 4 and in their CRM to make sure that we know exactly the cost of every good opportunity. In that way, we can flex accordingly.

Analytics Unloq

Examples Of Our Graphic Design Work

Graphics Unloq

An Acquired Taste

Mergers and acquisitions marketing imagery rife with stock photos of business meetings, office blocks and cityscapes. But Unloq is different. The name is the focus: to unlock opportunities, unpick information and open up value for clients.

So the imagery is simple, clean and relates to the process of unlocking rather than the environment. We recommended striking black and white imagery that nails the brief, engages the viewer and turns attention to messaging and actions, whilst complementing the brand palette.

Creatively Constructed

Structural engineering is a challenging sector to visually attract as well as get a message across. The process is dry, technical … and when being installed is just plain muddy.

However, the end result showcases the hard work that has gone before. Beautiful outcomes are the result of painstaking planning and meticulous production. We use imagery of the future to create that desire today.

Graphics Toynbee Associates

Examples Of Our Close Work

CRM Toynbee Associates

Building Business

The practice had just recruited a manager and was looking to bring together all their enquiries and proposals into one place. We recommended, configured and launched a CRM for them that gave them visibility over all their leads.

As they developed their services, and added to their team, we let them adapt and shape the process to remain ahead of the pack.

Good Prospects

With a growing sales team, and a range of clients and business partners with differing demands, we needed to not only store records, but also to drive the business forward.

We set up the various Opportunities, Tasks, Tracks and Tags to match the way in which the business went about the value chain and to segment their prospects and customers. We imported all the data from their previous CRM to track and store everything. We helped with adoption, and now no lead or opportunity goes to waste.

CRM Unloq

Examples Of Our Email Work

Email Unloq

Delivering Value

High-value, low-volume email marketing requires a specialised approach. One that speaks the right language to partners, clients and prospects, whilst underpinning the values that make Unloq’s services unique.

With split lists, containing some shared and some unique content, we have created variety without the overhead of coming up with three completely new emails every time. Precise, targeted and confident – just like our client.

In the Loop

With a wide range of products, applications and service offerings, HCL could be seen as demanding. Yet, by integrating segmentation techniques on company size, sector and purchase history, we are able to choose the audiences to send emails to, and uncover what works.

Each email is scoped, the audience identified, professionally written, designed and then integrated with tracking from within the email as well as through analytics.

Email HCL Fasteners

Examples Of Our Uncategorized Work

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