In February 2021, Google made an announcement that may change the way you run your Google Ad campaigns. Paid search campaigns are designed to allow you to bid on specific keywords and phrases and if a user searches one of those keywords or terms, your ad could be shown. Bidding on keywords allows you to serve relevant ads and get more qualified traffic. There are four different keyword match types that dictate how closely your keyword should match a user’s search query. However, the four previous types of match types will be changing in an effort to make it easier to manage Google Ads campaigns and increase the quality of the traffic clicking on your ads.
Google Ads Match Type Options Before February 2021
Before February, there were a total of four keyword match types to choose from when creating a paid search campaign.
Broad Match: Keywords (or synonyms of your keywords) that loosely relate to a user’s search query. For example, if you were bidding on the term “bank account” as a broad match keyword and a user searched “checking account” or “savings account,” your ad could be shown.
Broad Match Modifier: Keywords (or synonyms of your keywords) that are related to a user’s search, but all keywords must be somewhere in the query. The broad match modifier keyword could have words before, after or in between. For example, if you were to bid on the term “checking account” as a broad match modifier and a user searched “how to open an account for checking” or “checking accounts near me,” your ad could be shown.
Phrase Match: Keywords (or synonyms of your keywords) that have more control than broad match, but are not an exact match. Keywords must be next to each other in a user’s search query. For example, if you were bidding on the term “credit card” as a phrase match keyword and a user typed in “Visa credit cards” or “credit cards for students,” your ad could be shown.
Exact Match: Keywords (or synonyms of your keywords) must almost precisely match a user’s search query. For example, if you were bidding on the term “business financing” as an exact match keyword and a user searched for “financing for business,” your ad could be shown.
There are also negative keywords that you can input as any of these match types to ensure that your ad will not be shown. For example, let’s say you bid on the term “credit cards” as a phrase match keyword and the campaign you are running is for your Platinum Credit Card that is not for students. In order to avoid showing for search queries like “credit cards for students” you can add “students” as a negative keyword. In this case it would make the most sense to add it as a broad match negative keyword.
Combining Phrase and Broad Match Options, then Bye Bye Broad Match
Google’s February 2021 announcement affected not one, but two keyword match types. Phrase match and broad match modifiers will both be combining behaviors. By July 2021, however, broad match modifiers will be phased out and only phrase match will exist with this new behavior. The update is being made in an effort to streamline keyword management and increase reach to potential customers. The new updated phrase match type will follow these behaviors:
All keywords or (synonyms) are required to be present in a search query. For example, if you were bidding on the term “auto loan rates” if a user searched for “auto loans,” your ad would not show.
Keywords (or synonyms) do not have to be next to each other. There can be words in between. For example, if you were bidding on the term “auto loan rates” if a user typed in “auto loan low rates,” your ad may be shown.
Keywords (or synonyms) have to be in the correct order. For example, if you were bidding on “auto loan rates” if a user searched for “rates for auto loans,” your ad would not be shown.
How Does This Impact Current Campaigns?
So, what does this mean for your campaigns? Google is trying to make this transition as seamless as possible. The move to new behavior is currently happening for both phrase match and broad match modifiers, but there is no immediate action needed. In July 2021, broad match modifiers will no longer be a selection option, but campaigns that were made before July with broad match modifiers will continue to run with the new behavior. Google suggests using phrase match instead of broad match modifiers with any new campaigns starting now. While there may not be any immediate action necessary, it is still important to monitor existing campaigns using broad match modifiers or phrase match since this update can cause fluctuation in traffic.
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