understanding google ads match types

Written by 10:00 am Google Ads, Trending

Understanding Google Ads Keyword Match Types

The keyword match types that are often available in several keyword based ad platforms are surprisingly overlooked by many, but in actual fact they are extremely important when it comes to keeping a tight reign on your budget and targeting relevant search queries.

December 1st 2019

In short, the different match types are, exact match, broad match, broad match variation, and phrase match. Each have their own pros and cons and here we’ll explore all of them:

Exact Match – [Exact Match]

This is exactly what is says on the tin, if you add a keyword into Google Ads then select exact match from the drop down, or add the keyword with brackets, then your ad will show (all other things considered, bids, location, ad schedule etc) for that term. Let’s say if you add the term [blue gloss paint for walls] then no other search query will trigger your ad. The benefit of exact match is you will only ever get impressions for users who search the exact query, which is great because if you know what people are searching for then why would you want to bid on anything else?! Well the downside to this is that you’ll never get to see any close variations where users have added an extra word, for example ‘blue gloss paint for living room walls’, this is where a broad match variation would come in handy.


Broad Match – BM

Effectively this means that Google will seek out any terms that have a close variation to the keyword that you have added as. To add a broad match term, you enter the keyword as free text with no symbols or use the drop down to enter the keyword as broad match. Using our paint example ‘blue gloss paint for walls’, unsurprisingly enough your ad would start to show for all sorts of search queries that are closely related or have a similar theme with at the very least 1 of the terms within the keyword. This bring up a host of opportunities to understand what your users are actually searching for, and it allows you to find small nuggets of information that you might not have discovered in your keyword research. Be careful however, you will need to keep a close eye on this, you can blow your daily budget cap very quickly if you don’t keep these terms on a short leash.


Broad Match Modified – +Broad +Match

This is the same as broad match, but rather than finding close variants of keywords, what we’re saying it, show my ad for queries that contains some, if not all, of the terms in the keyword. To add a broad match modified term, you need to add a + symbol before every term, for example, +blue +gloss +paint +for +walls, this means that the query needs to have all of those terms present, in order to serve an impression, but it could potentially have a host of other terms in the query as long as every term marked with a modified symbol is there. In this example, a search query ‘how to I apply blue gloss paint for kitchen walls’ would trigger an impression of an ad, whereas, ‘how much does blue gloss paint cost’ would not as it does not contain all of the terms present. This is a good use of broad match as it will keep a tighter reign on the budget, however it’s quite restrictive, there is still a chance you might miss certain search queries that are important to your business.


Phrase Match – “Phrase Match”

What we’re saying here is that your phrase can appear in any shape or form within the search query, but it must appear as the phrase you have added. You can add phrase match keywords by using the drop down or adding in quotation marks around the search term. Ok, back to our paint example, your keyword would look like this “blue gloss paint for walls”, so any query around this phrase could trigger an ad impression. For example, the query ‘where to buy blue gloss paint for walls near me’ would trigger an impression, but ‘how many coats required for blue gloss paint’ would not trigger the ad impression. Phrase match works well for shorter phrases that have a significant amount of volume, but potentially not so much for longer phrases that may not return many impressions, this all depends on the industry and phrase in question.


Negative Match Types

In addition to these ‘positive’ keyword match types, there is also ‘negative’ match types that enable us to exclude certain queries from search terms if they’re not appropriate for the type of business that we’re advertising for.

When first starting out using Google Ads, it’s important to experiment with different match types. This not only enables you to do some market research on what your potential customers are looking for but also eventually start to narrow down what your best performing keyword are as part of the ongoing optimisation process.

You can find out more about Google Ads keyword match types at the official site here.