Google and the other search engines allow you to specify different matching options in paid search campaigns. I would like to share some data we have collected on the different conversion rates.

When people discuss these matching options they consistently say that you’ll get more traffic from broad match than exact match but you’ll get better conversion rates with exact match. What I haven’t been able to find is any data on how much better the conversion rates are – so we did an experiment with one of our customers to estimate the differences between the options.

The client used in the experiment was a small consumer electronics retailer. We automatically created a Google campaign using our Ad Champion service but for every keyword we put in both a broad match and an exact match. We bid the same amount on both the broad and exact match keywords and we used the same landing page for both. In this case the landing page was the most popular product page from site search. We ran this test for one month.

For the broad match campaign the value of the sales were 2.3 times the cost of the advertising (not a very good ROI for low margin products). For the exact match campaign the value of the sales were 12 times the cost of the advertising. So the exact match campaign gave us a 5.2 times better return on investment than the broad match campaign.