Yesterday, Google announced on their blog, that starting in late September you will lose the choice to opt out of close variant keyword matching for exact and phrase match keywords. In reality, this probably won’t affect most accounts. This is already a standard setting for newly created campaigns in Adwords that most people don’t notice or bother to turn off. That being said, there is no good reason for Google to take this option away from users.
Google says the update is to help advertisers. Their main selling point is that you will no longer need to build exhaustive lists of never ending keyword variations to ensure your ads are shown for every possible related search. While I’m sure we all appreciate Google’s concern for our work/home life balance, I have a feeling their motivations are a little more selfish than that. If you are one of the few select accounts who chose not to bid on misspellings or close variations, this change will most likely drive up you impressions, clicks and therefore costs. Instead of spending time bidding on every variation, you will now have to spend time adding negative keywords of any variation or misspelling you do not want to show up for. They also throw in at the end of their post, that while adding every variation of a keyword or key phrase you could possibly think of won’t be necessary anymore, the system still “prefers” to show ads using keywords that are identical to search queries. In a nutshell, the OCD account manager who takes the time to add all possible variations, will still be shown over you, if they bid on a variation that you didn’t because you thought the “Close Variant” setting had you covered. Thanks Google. Super helpful.