At some point in late September, there is going to be a massive change to close variant matching in AdWords; a change that will see everybody using it.
Previously, you had the option of turning it off (it is estimated that 3 percent of advertisers did so), but after September, there will be no option to turn it off.
Close variant matching was first introduced in 2012, and gave advertisers the ability to have their ads automatically matched to plurals, misspellings and close variants of their original keyword.
The vast majority of advertisers have close variant matching enabled across their keywords. (It’s the default setting) But the minority of people that don’t will be forced to use it too.
It’s easy to see why so many advertisers choose to use it; the old way of doing things took much longer….
…Including every possible keyword variation across multiple match types meant that we had ten times the number of keywords in ad groups.
…When it came to optimising our accounts further down the line, we had so many different keywords that things got incredibly confusing.
With close variant matching, we are able to minimize the number of keywords in our accounts, allowing us to expand our reach to long tail keywords that would previously be tagged as having low search volume, and would not show as a result.
There may be cases where advertisers would want more control over every individual keyword. For example the plural of a keyword might convert at a cost effective conversion rate whilst the original is leaking cash.
But these cases are the minority, and we will still be able to simply add an exact match negative keyword to the relevant ad group in order to ensure that certain keywords never show.
Overall, close variant matching is a massive time saver, and having the option to turn it off is not a big deal. Those that chose to turn it off will have to adjust to the change.
The change likely came about because Google is constantly searching for ways to increase revenues. With more advertisers having their ads showed to close variants, it will mean more clicks and more money for Google.