Negative Matches, the c*ckblocker of the search world.

Ok, so hear me out on this one.  Along time ago, my old boss was trying to explain to a frat boy intern in our office about Search Marketing in PPC.  I explained it one way but he was still confused about what everything was and the types of matching etc…  so my boss at the time jumped in and the example that ended up actually sticking with the frat boy intern was an example that actually stuck with me too.

This boss was not only someone I had looked up to, but still do.  I actually also heard this same story told by my boss a couple years ago to another fratboy turned employee (kind of funny how examples that you think are unique travel and you hear them over and over when you don’t expect it) and although it is completely inappropriate for office language and comparison, it actually does work and get the point across.  The thing though is that the version they told only goes into advanced matching types.  My version goes the extra step and talks about negative keywords being the c*ckblockers and if you want to know why, then keep reading.  BTW, I did have a couple of chardonnays and am on an airplane and I hate flying so that is why this is being written so poorly and apparently I think is a good idea to post.

So lets think about being in a bar.  Suppose you are there to pick someone ip, however there are a ton of people to choose from.

You look up at the bar and see a girl or guy standing on the bar dressed in a slutty outfit, girl or guy because who knows who is reading this and hey, to each their own, and they are just dancing around, causing a scene and getting almost all of the attention in the bar.  This is called the broad match.  Where you just type in the keyword or phrase and this person or your ad just jumps out and doesn’t care who sees them, as long as they get the attention.

The broad match gets most of the attention, doesn’t turn anything down and can be used in a number of ways.  It doesn’t discriminate and will show up no matter how you search, as long as that term is in your phrase, word or search term.  Luckily though the broad match that gives it away has a friend sitting at the bar below him/her.  This friend is the phrase match.

The phrase match is the friend that dresses like the broad match but also requires a drink or two before he or she will give you any attention.  He or she needs something a bit more specific to get his or her attention.  Something that is at least a bit relevant, but has something a bit more and needs to be impressed before you get his or her attention and him or her to show up.  The broad match wants vodka and doesn’t care how he or she gets it. But the phrase match will only give you attention if you mention it with cranberry or with tonic.  He or she is more selective about the type of person looking for him or her but still likes to have fun and a good time.  The phrase match shows up often and regularly, but at the same time it is a bit more selective and doesn’t just give it away to anything that looks for it.

Now we have the exact match.  This is the librarian and conservative guy or girl at the end of the bar drinking a soda instead of doing shots like the broad match and mixed drinks like the phrase and probably reading a book.  This could also be the quiet and intimidating man or woman that you really have to know what you want because if you don’t and you try to approach him or her, he or she will reject you on your own and you will be invisible to him or her since he or she will only show up if you are exactly what he or she is looking for.

The exact match is very selective, has a brain and is completely selective on who he or she shows up for.  This is the match that doesn’t always bring someone home, but when he or she does, it usually converts into something a bit more meaningful, like a sale or a second date.  Although you don’t get a lot of traffic with the exact match and he or she doesn’t meet as many people, the people that do come up to him or her are usually more quality and usually turn into something better.

Now we have the last matching type, the Negative Keyword or Keyword Phrase.  This is the protective family member or friend.  The sober sister that stands in the way of everything he or she doesn’t approve of and stops you from getting through.  These are what help to not only improve the quality of your campaign, but they really target down your traffic into the best possible matches possible so you don’t loose a ton of money on wasted clicks.

Here is an example of the Negative match and the bar.  You have three types of guys coming up to hit on the broad and phrase match (Since exact is so selective he or she doesn’t need the extra protection or help).

Guy number one is a biker and white trash player.  He not only has the cocky attitude, but he also pushes his way forward.  Luckily your negative matching bff has your back and quickly not only pulls your off the bar and the stool, but also drags you to the bathroom after having the bartender announce that there was a motorcycle with it’s headlights on that just got towed at the bar and he should leave.

Guy number two is the thug that not only pushes his way past the bff cockblocker and tried to hit you with a serious line.  What he doesn’t know is that while you are talking to someone else and he is about to reach out and grab you (click the link) your best friend thanks him for the $20 martinis and asked when he’ll be buying the round of shots for you and all your friends.  Anyways, this scares the thug off and your ad is safe from being clicked and having your ad wasted on someone that didn’t actually want to stick around and make the purchase.  If he cannot afford your product, then keep him away from the goods.

Guy number three is the average guy who has a decent job and is dressed ok.  He looks like a decent person and he makes it passed the exact match because although he or she is his type, he just didn’t look in the right direction to catch the exact matches eye.  It was a missed opportunity from a potential shopper, but then again, for that one missed there were maybe 80 clicks or men and women that just weren’t even going to shop so you still saved money.

So anyways, this guy comes along and he makes it up to the phrase match who is staring at the broad match both surrounded by people at the bar and taking all of the attention.  The Negative match sees him standing there and at first lets him go through to talk to her friends, but all of the sudden the negative spring into action.

The Negative match saw him/her checking out a couple other ads instead of her friends the phrase and broad and because of this realized he or she may be a cheater.  Not  only could he lead them onto thinking there was about to be a sale, but go with a competitor, but he also didn’t have a guaranteed sale on the other end so the Negative says who do you like, jumps in and takes them out.

Anyways, this may not be the most politically correct or professional way to describe how match types and negative matches work for your PPC campaigns, but then again, it is one that seems to stick with most people.

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