More Keyword Match Type Changes Coming for Google Ads
This week, Google announced that they will once again be making changes to their keyword match types, which could potentially impact paid search account structures and strategy moving forward.
As a quick refresher, Google uses the following match types to reach users:
- Exact Match
- Broad Match
- Broad Match Modified (BMM)
- Phrase Match
Exact match is used for precision, Broad match for scale, and BMM and Phrase match for a balance of both. According to Google, 15% of all daily searches are net new queries, so it is imperative to develop an efficient scaling strategy by going beyond the use of Exact match keywords.
So, What Exactly is Google Changing?
Beginning February 18, Google will change the matching behavior for BMM and Phrase match keywords to qualify for the same user searches, which will simplify the complexity of keyword match type options by eventually rendering the BMM match type obsolete. The new Phrase match behavior will fully replace BMM by July, at which point advertisers will no longer be able to add new BMM keywords to their accounts.
Moving forward, Phrase match keywords will be eligible to trigger ads for searches that include the same or more specific meaning as your keyword. This can potentially lead to an increase in traffic on any Phrase match keywords, or a slight decrease in traffic on any BMM keywords.
It is worth noting that Google will not be removing BMM keywords from an account, so if you are already leveraging this match type you can continue to do so, you will just have to use Phrase match keywords for any new keyword creation.
What Does This Look Like?
Google offers the below examples that illustrate how matching behavior will change after this update takes place:
|Broad match modifier keyword||Queries that will no longer match after the update|
|+resume +services||what are some customer service skills to put on a resume|
|+best +sneakers||best prices on sneakers for toddler|
|+used +printers||companies that used daisy wheel printers|
|Phrase match keyword||Queries that will match after the update|
|"holidays in zambia”||holiday spots in zambia|
|"long sleeve dress”||long sleeve lace dress|
|"womens boots"||new womens size 37 boot|
What Should You Do Next?
Determine the future state of your account structure.
- For some advertisers, it could be as simple as replacing BMM with Phrase match types. For others, it could require the adoption of pure Broad match keywords.
Monitor keyword performance and spend allocations.
- Depending on how your keyword performance is impacted, you may want to shift budgets across match types and campaigns.
- If you are leveraging bid automation, make sure these changes don’t negatively impact your bid strategies.
Keep an eye on Search Term Reports.
- In the coming weeks, review search term reports to better understand which search queries are matching with Phrase match and BMM keywords.
Review any automated rules or general automation that you have in place.
- If you are leveraging technology that adds new keywords to campaigns, or automated rules that impact BMM or Phrase match keywords, make sure to analyze how these changes could impact those areas.
If you take a moment to zoom out and look at the bigger picture of the changes Google has been implementing in recent years, it is clear that they are gradually shifting to a more automated approach, which results in a campaign structure that involves less complexity. This is evident when you consider the evolution of keyword match types, with matching criteria across exact, phrase, and broad becoming more ambiguous with each update.
Because of this, it is imperative that advertisers take the time to think through their long-term Paid Search strategy and how it can align with the direction Google is heading.