• Terry Whalen

    But wait – I thought it was Alpha/Beta or bust!! No?

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Hey Terry

    This logic is the same that we use when talking about Alpha/Beta. Typically in our publications we are speaking to the higher volume Alpha queries. In this article I am trying to discuss the logic behind the ‘beta’ side of things. Though, my example doesn’t not have an ‘alpha’ portion so to speak, but it can be easily added in.

    As the highest level goal we are trying to control ad serving as best as possible. With ‘alpha’ queries, we are focusing on ad serving for a single element set (1 keyword ad groups) whereas here we’re talking about semantic clustering for a group of tail queries.

    Perhaps at one point we’ll be less obtuse and publish a blog that completes the entire concept :)

  • Pat Grady

    I need to be sat down in my chair and have the teacher explain it more, cuz my only question is how did this get past editorial. Perhaps I’m a dogmatic, cramming memorizer. How can I prove or disprove that? If I were, I suspect it’d blind me to the truth… yup, I definitely need a talking to.

  • http://twitter.com/CassieAllinger Cassie Allinger

    I love how you took such a simple topic (one of my favorites) and truly made it sound like quantum physics! Great explanation and I love the whack-a-mole analogy.

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    This is sort of a depressing comment!

    The point I’m trying to make is that if someone were to understand the logic behind PPC they could, with confidence, more optimally answer any question that arises about the account. There are so many questions that require knowledge of sets.

    What happens if I pause all keywords with no conversions?
    What is a keyword level bid and is it really optimal?
    What happens when I change a bid on a non exact match keyword?
    What value does a unique keyword being to the portfolio?
    Is historical data valid today, how do we leverage it effectively?
    Am I reaching the ceiling of my account?

    None of these can be accurately answered without knowledge of sets. I was aiming for “teaching a man to fish” in this blog post. Or, at least, asking we all think of keywords as a group of queries with aggregated data.

    I feel if someone can understand set theory as it relates to PPC they will get more value out of that understanding than reading 10 blog posts that pass editorial :) This logic is a bit different, and I’m still trying to understand it completely myself, but I definitely think it’s on the right track.

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Thanks Cassie – stuff this really makes PPC fun! Even better, there are often some nice conclusions that come about as a result, and really improve the numbers.

  • http://twitter.com/CassieAllinger Cassie Allinger

    It sure does! :)

  • http://twitter.com/ravisodha Ravi Sodha

    Great article! Thinking cap is firmly on…

    Lots to think about and understand, I look forward to any follow ups on this concept

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Hey Rob

    Exactly – so, “2” as a negative in broad or phrase negative is the same thing. Single token negatives have the same effect whether broad or phrase. I wrote an article on negatives here (http://www.searchenginejournal.com/lets-be-negative-an-efficient-approach-to-negatives/41703/) which you might like :)

    Thanks for the comment!

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Thanks Ravi…hopefully I get a chance to keep contributing ;)

  • Rob Tyrrell

    Hey Mike – Interesting ideas, I hadn’t really thought about match types in these terms before.

    My problem with your suggested structure is that ‘Campaign A’ is still going to receive queries with a very wide range of intent. “iPad”, “white iPad” and “iPad cover” end up potentially receiving the same bid and landing page, which definitely isn’t optimal.

    Campaign B is basically set up for keyword discovery, which is fine, but I always expect those campaigns to have the lowest ROI. For instance, if you noticed that the query “new apple tablet” was converting well in Campaign B you’d probably want to build out a new campaign based on like queries.

    At the end of the day the goal is to have highly segmented campaigns based on query intent and the ‘traditional’ structure still seems like the best way to ensure that happens. Thanks for making me wrap my mind around set theory though!

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Hey Rob

    Thanks for the comment.

    I definitely hear where you’re coming from. In this sample, I kept the KW set very underdeveloped for illustrative purposes. The actual campaign would certainly have more KWs, and we would funnel things based on intent.

    As a fully formed campaign, we would certainly be much more granular with our approach. The high level point is the to illustrate the theory of how match types are really just ways to captured defined sets.

  • http://twitter.com/sduzy496 Sarah Peduzzi

    Woah, this article made me think. And you’re right, there really is no…conclusive conclusion. What it did do was make me think about campaign structure in a new way. Having the option to view the keyword that triggered the SQ helps with examining what the “sets” like you explained.


  • http://twitter.com/CollinTate CollinTate

    I’m the type of guy that likes to know the WHY behind the WHAT, but have been guilty of cramming and memorizing. To be honest, when I first read this, I was a bit lost. But, after a few re-reads and letting the concepts sink in, I get it. As a result I’ve started studying set theory. First rate article Mike!

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    Thanks Sarah, it was fun to think about while writing too!

  • http://twitter.com/mikenelsonppca Mike Nelson

    I think this type of mindset (“why” behind the “what”) is key to next level account management.

    Set theory doesn’t have to be hard…we’ve actually been learning it since venn diagrams. Google has images of these running all around the adwords UI now, so it’s really useful to understand the basics of set theory.A Schaum outline should give you all you need to know about set theory.

    Thanks for reading :)