In May, Google launched one of its many updates to the AdWords platform. The misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents & abbreviations option was added for SEM campaigns. Along with it came a huge campaign by Google to tell everyone how much more search traffic this would bring you and how bad America is at spelling. So now that 2012 is coming to an end I thought- is it really worth opting in? I took a look at the pros and cons of using this feature, so read below to learn about my atomically huge and important conclusion.
7% of all search queries contain a misspelling (according to Google). And the longer the search query is, the higher the chance of a misspelling
Basically a lot of people misspell stuff, so making sure that all those bases are covered helps to reach your full target market.
This is particularly helpful when plurals really change the word, for example- baby and babies or even better knife and knives. Keep in mind what it is you want to target, often times the plural might be much more beneficial for you to bid on. Someone searching “buy targets” in the plural is more apt to be purchasing in bulk (which is obviously more cost effective), however with this Google function, that same search query would also bring up results for “buy target” which will not only confuse target (the object) with Target (the store) but also provide lower conversion values.
This particular aspect of the Google update makes me the most hesitant about using it. Stemming will take the base of a word and incorporate all the other variations into the search. For example you may have the keyword fish, that would also include fishing, fished, or fishes. For e-commerce sites this poses the greatest risk, making sure people are searching in present tense rather than future or past (you don’t want people just looking around, you want someone ready to purchase).
This is where things can get a little tricky…Someone may search for a resume (in terms of some activity) or they may be searching for a résumé – in either case this new setting in Google would pull up very mixed results. For an advertiser this means you might be paying for some pretty irrelevant searches.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few poor spellers out there (encluding mysellf)…making abbreviations a bit difficult to automatically include in your PPC campaign. For example – take someone looking to find where an apartment is and they search “appt” or someone looking to find where their doctor appointment is and they search “apt.”
Overall analysis of the feature:
Atomically Huge Conclusion
It’s really about preference, where you would rather manage your time. Either way- you’re going to need to spend some time making sure you’re targeting who you want. Whether you spend your time upfront building out an extensive list-that might mean you need to spend additional time adjusting to market changes and your targeting alternations. Similarly if you choose to opt in, you may see more benefit in the long run as you constantly enter in negative keywords to account for potentially wasted searches. Basically it’s a bit of a bummer for all those lazy SEM’ers who thought they could have Google effectively manage their jobs for them.
In most cases, we prefer to opt-out, as it gives us more control on our spending and flexibility when it comes to planning budgets and increasing ROI. Take a look at our ppc services page for more information on our approach.
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