MKG Marketing MKG Marketing Logo Quotation Marks

Bye Bye Bye Broad Match Modifier

Priscilla Victorin • March 16, 2021 • 3 minutes to read

Google made life harder, for Digital Advertising Experts, by disabling Broad Match Modifier. Phrase Match will be a Paid Search Marketers new best friend, if it isn’t already.

For those not in the digital advertising weeds day in and out, here are the types of keyword targeting. This includes Broad Match Modifier so you know the differences.

Four keyword match types:

  • Broad — This means if someone searches a specific keyword your ad will show up no matter what else is in the search. Hence the term, broad.
  • Broad Match Modifier — This gives you a little more control. It allows you to add more keywords to provide more context. So instead of “shoes”, you could do +red +shoes and as long as “red” and “shoes” are in the search query your ad will show up.
  • Phrase — This gets even more specific. By using quotes around a phrase, like “red shoe”, your ad will show for anything containing those keywords in that exact order. It can have other keywords around it, but “red shoes” must be in it. Like if someone types Nike red shoes, then your ad will show up.
  • Exact — This uses brackets. Any term between brackets has to show up in Google exactly, with nothing else. If your exact match is [ red shoes ] and someone searches Nike red shoes, your ad will not show because Nike is not in the brackets.

So what’s the big deal about Broad Match Modifier leaving the Google Adwords premise?

It makes it hard to cast a wide net. When you launch a new campaign, Broad Match Modifier is a great way to say,

I know all these keywords are important, but I don’t know how people are using them. Let’s go for all the words, in any order, and I don’t care if one keyword shows up many.

As people search, click, visit your site, and convert, you can move the best performers from Broad Match Modifier to Phrase Match. Now you know what keywords are going together and in what order. It also allows you to build a killer negative keyword list without breaking the bank.

Phrase Match and Exact Match are generally less expensive. The longer and more exact the phrase the less competition. But, without Broad Match Modifier, these keyword targets could get costly. It’s going to take more expertise and due diligence to ensure your campaigns launch with their best foot forward.

The good news is, generally, Phrase Match drives a better cost per conversion. Especially once you optimize your negative keyword list and phrases.

Speaking of negative keywords… with Phrase Match it is extra important that you dial in that list. We have to be more diligent about checking campaigns to build that negative keyword list. This allows us to work towards the best audience possible.

For those who already have campaigns in swing, losing Broad Match Modifier isn’t the end of the world. Chances are you already have a great negative keyword list in place. If you don’t, then head over to a tool like SEMRush and spend time building that list upfront.

The biggest hurdle with any new Google Updates is change. You get a system honed in to deliver the best results for brands and then Google switches it up. Change is hard. As of right now we’re not seeing any major impact on our campaigns. That could be because we already have a strong negative keyword list. It could be because our experts are being extra diligent on checking on campaigns more often. Only time will tell.

We’ll provide an update in June and let you know of anything new we learned and what outcomes we’re experiencing.

Join our weekly newsletter

Get industry news, articles, and tips-and-tricks straight from our experts.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our Privacy Policy.