Changes in the advertising landscape: keyword types

Date
1 June 2022

Anyone who regularly works with Google Ads Campaigns will have already noticed. The keyword type Broad Match Modifier has disappeared. Why has this changed? How does this affect your current campaigns? And how can you adjust your advertising strategy accordingly? Advertising expert Inte shares her insights and tips to optimise your campaigns.

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What are the keyword match types used for?

Until the end of 2021, five types of keywords were available for use, which you could indicate by using certain symbols:

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The differences between these keyword types

Below is a quick summary of the five keyword types.

1 Broad Match

Broad keywords are keywords without symbols , they are very broad and can trigger the word itself, synonyms and variations.

Example: if you include the keyword electric guitar in your keyword list, your advertisement will also be triggered by keywords such as guitar or acoustic guitar,... Not only guitars but also product numbers of guitars or a piano and other instruments can be triggered. As long as these are not excluded in negative keywords and as long as there is no automated bidding strategy attached to them.

2 Broad Match Modifier

Keywords of type Broad Match Modifier are added with a '+' symbol. Just like Broad Match keywords, these keywords are very broad. The difference between Broad Match Modifier and Broad Match is that the keywords written as broad match modifier take the user's search query into account more. This means that the ad will be shown if the search query includes all words of the keyword.

Example: if you include the keyword +electric +guitar in the keyword list of your campaigns, the ads will be triggered by keywords such as buy blue electric guitar.

3 Phrase Match

These keywords trigger synonyms, singular and plural and there may be many words before and after, but not between the search term that the customer is looking for. Now that Broad Match Modifier no longer exists, Phrase Match has become the keyword match type that Google Ads automatically sets (the Head Match Type).

Example: if you include the keyword "electric guitar" in your keyword list, your advertisement will be shown with keywords such as buy electric guitar.

4 Exact Match

These keywords trigger on keywords that are written in exactly the same way as your keyword in the keyword list, but also on keywords that have the same meaning or intention as the added keyword.

Example: if you include the keyword [electric guitar] in your keyword list, the advertisement will only be shown when that precise word is typed into the Google search engine. The keywords [electric guitars] and [guitar electric] will make the ad appear.

5 Negative Match

With this keyword type you indicate which keywords you do not want to be included in your search. This ensures that the ads are not shown for keywords that are typed into Google in combination with the excluded keyword.

Example: if you include the keyword “acoustic guitar” in the negative keyword list, the ad will not be shown for the search query acoustic guitar .

Why was the Broad Match Modifier removed?

At the end of 2021, Google Ads decided to delete the Broad Match Modifier type. This adjustment provides a higher degree of control and makes everything simpler. In addition, it has the advantage that searches by Google are interpreted correctly.

What happens to current campaigns?

The disappearance of the Broad Match Modifier as an option when setting up Google Ads campaigns does not mean that the Broad Match Modifier will disappear completely. This keyword match type will still be used in the ad account and the historical data will also be saved, but from the end of 2021 you can no longer add a keyword with match type 'Broad Match Modifier'

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What should you pay attention to when using Broad Match?

Instead of Broad Match Modifier, you will now have Broad Match keywords. This carries with some risks:

  1. It’s possible that you might be unintentionally bidding on your competitors keywords.

  2. Irrelevant traffic may be triggered via broad keywords.

  3. High CPCs: due to more competition on certain keywords.

Despite the risks associated with using Broad Match, we notice that this match type is starting to perform better since the switch. If you don't see results right away, give it some time. Or apply the best practices to optimise results.

Best Practices for Keyword Management

Do you want to optimise your campaigns with Broad Match keywords? Then follow these five tips:

  1. Use broad match keywords in an automatic bid strategy (such as Maximise conversions, Maximise Conversion Value, Target CPA and Target ROAS)

  2. Go through your search terms report on a regular basis (weekly to biweekly) to exclude irrelevant traffic and thus be as relevant as possible to the user.

  3. Add a Broad Match keyword as a variation on your best performing keywords in the ad groups.

  4. Test Broad Match keywords over a period of two to three weeks and then determine whether you will continue to use it.

  5. If there is a separate search campaign for your own brand traffic and/or a campaign for the main competitor keywords, be sure to exclude your own brand (and that of competitors) in negative phrase match for all other search campaigns. Tip: the fastest and most practical way to do this is through the shared library and negative lists.

Make sure your product or service gets the attention it deserves.

Would you like to optimise your campaigns and advertisements? Then contact our advertising experts. They are happy to help you to ensure that your product or service gets more of the right attention online.

Inte Smets | iO
About the author
Inte Smets
Digital Advertising Specialist - iO

Advertising expert Inte loves data because there is always at least one lesson to learn: what to do next. A strong advocate for a pragmatic approach – she is invariably the first to propose one last A/B test.

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