There’s a big debate within the PPC community over whether you should structure your account by keyword match type. There’s no right answer to this argument (as always to these debates) and the best approach for you depends on results primarily, but also a bit of personal preference.

We want to try and be a bit more helpful than that today, though. So now we’re going to run through the basics of match type segmentation and why you may (or may not) want to use it.


What is match type segmentation?

Match type segmentation typically separates ad groups by keyword match types, although some advertisers choose to do this at the campaign level. Either way, the setup basically looks like this:


Negative keywords are then used to specify these ad groups to different search intents. The idea is to give you more control over which ads are triggered by search queries and also generate more trustworthy data. It also gives you more control over dynamic keyword insertion and a number of other ways to improve the relevance of your ads to user searches.


Why would I use match type segmentation?

The reason match type segmentation exists is because of how Google matches search queries to your ads. Google has to decide which ad is the most relevant and this is difficult unless you provide the right clues.

If someone types “buy cheap running shoes” into Google, without match type segmentation, there’s a huge list of potential keywords Google could use to select what it considers your most relevant ad. And the more of those keywords you have in your ad group, the more room for misinterpretation there can be.

Match type segmentation creates ad groups specific to user intents (exact match) and creates manageable ad groups for related searches (broad and phrase matches). There are various advantages to this:


  • You target specific user intents with exact match
  • You can embed negative keywords for more control over how each match type is triggered
  • You get specific data on how each match type is performing
  • You can refine ads and landing pages more specifically
  • Control budget by match type performance (if you segment at campaign level)


Basically, it all comes down to getting more control over the relevance of your ads and landing pages, based on the initial user search. The aim is to maximise impressions for the higher-intent searches (and then clicks and conversions) but still have a place to target and manage campaigns or ad groups for lower intent searches. It’s all about maximising reach and then turning that into the most conversions and ultimately profit.


So why doesn’t everyone segment by match type?

The argument for match type segmentation certainly sounds convincing – but this doesn’t always translate into the real world. The biggest problem with this approach is it creates a more complicated campaign structure that requires more management.

The question you need to ask is where do you draw the line between time/cost and getting the best performance? This depends on the time and budget you have available – not to mention your understanding of AdWords, if you’re doing it all yourself.

Match type segmentation isn’t particularly difficult, though. We also don’t think it takes as long to manage as some people make out – but that could depend on how much you use AdWords Editor.

There’s also the approach of tiered bidding, which is much quicker to manage, but comes with less control. It’s a case of finding the method that gets the best results in the time frame/budget you have to work with.


So is match type segmentation for me?

If you asked us whether we’re for or against match type segmentation, we’d answer with a pretty resounding “yes”. The more control you have over the relevance of your campaigns to user intent, the better – at least in an ideal world.

That ideal world bit is important, too. First of all, it assumes you have the resources available and it also relies on you having the right kind of account structure and management in place. We always say it’s worth going the extra stretch to invest the time and budget it takes to get the best results – but match type segmentation will be a stretch too far for some.


If you want more info on match type segmentation advice on whether it’s the right approach for your business, you can speak to our team today.