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Why You Should Use Exact Match Ad Groups in Your Adwords Campaigns

A few months ago, I got into a discussion with Dave about ad groups comprised of only exact match keywords and how I didn’t see their purpose. As I’ve gained Adwords experience and wisdom, I have come over to the dark side. I love exact match ad groups – let me tell you the reasons why you should use them in your own Adwords campaigns!


Quickly Assess Your Situation

When viewing a campaign from the ad groups tab on Adwords, if your ad groups are organized by match type, you can quickly compare those exact match ad groups with your phrase/broad ones. How much did you spend on keywords for which you know the exact search terms coming in vs. the catch all keywords? What was the clickthrough rate, average CPC and average position of both ad groups? You can then quickly make adjustments.

Non Competing Bids Between Different Match Types

I love automation. Everyone at Adster knows that automated rules are my jam. However, if I have a rule bidding up keywords reporting conversions, a bid for a phrase or broad match keyword could accidentally creep up above my exact match keyword bids in the same ad group. In an auction, Google would favour the bid of that broad match keyword as it’s higher and award the auction to that keyword. I could address this issue by moving my exact match keywords to its own ad group and add it as a negative keyword in its original ad group. Ta-da!

Isolate Curious Keywords

In one of my campaigns, I had a modified broad keyword suddenly bringing in many impressions and clicks on a specific search term – effectively causing me to spend more money on a segment of the campaign that I hadn’t before. There were 135 impressions for this search term and 29 clicks. I thought for sure these were sketchy clicks, but Google Analytics reported conversions and normal behaviour from these search terms.

In order to monitor this keyword, I created an ad group containing that keyword as an exact match. Now I have full control of this search term and can bid it down without worrying that it would be triggered by other match types with higher bids.

Increase the Quality and Relevancy of Your Campaign

Lastly, the biggest reason for adding ad groups with exact match keywords is that it increases the quality and relevancy of your campaign. Knowing the exact terms coming in, you can write specific ads catered to those keywords. In doing so, you can usually increase quality score and lower cost per click for those keywords.


Exact match ad groups are the bomb! They’ve changed the way I build and optimize Adwords campaigns and I have only seen positive results from them. Do you use exact match keyword ad groups in your campaigns? Let me know your thoughts!