How do we use concatenation in PPC?

If you work in the digital marketing industry, concatenation is one of those terms you’ve likely come across. Used within SEO, PPC and more – often in conjunction with campaigns and Google Display Ads – it’s a key component of many of our day-to-day activities.

As concatenation plays such an important role in our work, often without us knowing, the PPC experts here at Embryo are here to make things clearer. In this guide, we’ll touch on the basics of concatenation and show you how to apply it in the ‘real world’, from helping you create stronger keywords and ad groups to boosting your spreadsheets.

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So – what is Concatenation?

Once relegated to excel spreadsheets, concatenation has many applications across the worlds of computer science, marketing and more.

In terms of an actual definition, concatenation refers to the act of joining two pieces of ‘something’ together. Linguistically, that means connecting two words – such as ‘rain’ and ‘cloud’ – and popping them together to make ‘raincloud.’

But what does this mean through the lens of data?

Concatenation and data

In computer science, concatenation is a crucial part of text data manipulation. For marketers – especially technical SEOs and web-developers – many programming languages use different functions or operators to perform concatenation, such as ‘+’ or ‘&’.

We can also use concatenation formulas in our excel spreadsheets, helping us avoid data mistakes – which is particularly useful for PPC-ers. Don’t worry – we’ll touch on this later on!

How is Concatenation used in PPC?

In PPC, concatenation is a method we use to predominantly build things like keyword lists, pairing them with your match type.

At a glance, PPC platforms such as Google Ads allow you to target keywords with a variety of match types. While broader match keywords nabs the attention of a wider range of searches, phrase and exact match target narrower, more specific user queries.

So where does concatenation for PPC come in?

One of the easiest ways to utilise concatenation is through symbols. For example, if you have a large list of keywords and need to quickly assign a match type to each one, adding specific symbols to link and represent each one, can help.

Picture this: if you’re dealing with a huge list of single words like “denim jeans”, you can use concatenation to add quotation marks for phrase match. It’ll look a little like this: (“denim jeans”) – or brackets for exact match – ([denim jeans]) to all the keywords in your list, simultaneously.

Although simple, this is concatenation in action!

Concatenation in spreadsheets for PPC

In order to compile these keyword lists or form ad groups, PPC consultants often turn to spreadsheet programs like Excel or Google Sheets. Although these programs often have pre-built concatenate functions that can automate adding match types to keyword lists, we can also use formulas to replicate the function.

What are some formulas to use?

At Embryo, we often turn to Excel for our PPC compilations. Here, there are two main formulas for concatenation:

Concatenation Function

To help you ‘join the strings’ in Excel, we can use the following syntax:

=CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], …)

Text1: Use this to indicate the first text string you want to combine.

[text2], …: Then use this phrasing to show any additional text strings that you want to join with the first one.

You can include up to 255 text strings in a single formula.

Excel 2016 Variation

Following the same idea as the above, later versions of Excel use a newer, more straightforward formula. It does the exact same thing, just with less fuss – using this syntax:

=CONCAT(text1, [text2], …)

Are there any Concatenation tools I can use?

Although Excel can be one of the easier options to hand, some PPC platforms and third-party services offer specially-created “keyword concatenation tools.”

These tools allow you to upload your list, choose the desired match type, and get a new list with the symbols added efficiently with very little legwork – which may be worth investing in, with regular use.

What are the benefits of Concatenation?

PPC needs concatenation. Mainly because it saves a great deal of time compared to manually adding match types to each keyword, and also reduces human error.

Finally, and most importantly, it does ensure that your keyword match types are consistent across the board – so you know exactly what you’re inputting without too much fuss.

The Embryo Touch

Although turning to concatenation can be helpful in the grand scheme of keyword matching and planning, it’s crucial to understand the different match types by sight. It’s also key that you check their impact on your campaigns without relying too heavily on third-party tools.

By choosing the appropriate match type based on your specific goals, and targeting the correct audience to avoid catching irrelevant searches – you can stoke strong PPC activity.

But if you need a little extra help, our PPC experts are on hand. With an in-house team boasting award-winning PPC consultants and web developers, we can help you get started with all things concatenation!

To start your journey, why not get in touch for a personalised PPC audit from our consultants?

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