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Be wary of Google Ads ‘upgrades’

If you’re managing your own Google Ads campaigns, you’ll be more than familiar with Google’s constant nagging to ‘upgrade’ your keywords to ‘broad match‘. That’s a bit like a greengrocer telling us to stop buying just strawberries each week, and instead to buy half a dozen different types of fruit (which they’ll choose). They know full well that we’ll end up spending more …and they won’t point out that we’ll probably getting some fruit we don’t like into the bargain.

What Google would like us to do, ideally, is to give them a budget and let their systems work out the best keywords and positions for our ads. Even if we trust the systems to get us the best cost per click, or per conversion, that’s a lot of faith in the choice of keywords, which we know the systems don’t truly understand. Sure, they can work out (eventually!) that certain keywords which seem appropriate don’t actually convert, but it’ll take time. And for those of us in B2B sectors who don’t get hundreds of clicks a day, that learning time could cost us a lot of missed opportunities.

So our advice is that while there’s a place for broad match keywords, we would not describe them, like Google does, as an ‘upgrade’. Unless you’re running a very controlled broad match campaign to help with keyword identification, we’d start with exact match and phrase match.