What’s the difference between Exact, Broad and Phrase Match Terms?

28th September, 2018 | Written By Robert Wee

One of the most important factors in the optimisation of a Search Ad campaign is the use of Keyword Match types. At Phoenix Media, we often review existing Google Ad campaigns for prospects who are looking to improve their Ad performance. A quick look at the Search Term Report will show immediately how well the campaign is targeted an how much budget is ultimately being wasted on search terms that have no relevance to the companies product or services. In this article, we discuss the differences between the main keyword match types.

What is a Keyword Match Type?

The keyword match type determines when Google delivers your ads to search users. Broad offers the broadest range, while the exact match type restricts your ads to users searching for your exact target keyword.

The option that you choose gives you control over who gets to see your ad. With a broad range, you may get more clicks. However, there is a greater chance that some of these searches are unrelated to the topic of your ad, increasing your bounce rates and wasting your ad budget.

A well-structured campaign should make use of each keyword match type. The best way to achieve this is to understand exactly how each match type works.

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match is used when you want to deliver ads to variations of your target keyword. Ads are displayed if the keyword or keywords appear anywhere in the user’s search query. The broad match also displays your ads for close variations and synonyms of your search term.

For example, if you use the keyword phrase “yellow umbrellas,” your ad may appear in searches for “umbrellas with yellow polka-dots” or “yellow and blue umbrellas.” However, the ad will not appear in searches for “blue umbrellas” or “yellow accessories.”

Phrase Match Keywords

With phrase match, the keywords must appear in the exact same sequence as your target keyword phrase. While synonyms are not used, your ad may appear for queries containing close variations of your keyword phrase.

If your keyword is “yellow umbrellas,” the user’s search query must include the phrase “yellow umbrellas” in the same order, such as “least expensive yellow umbrellas.” Google will not show your ads for search queries that include additional words between your keywords, such as “yellow and blue umbrellas” or “umbrellas with yellow polka-dots.”

Exact Match Keywords

If you choose exact keyword matches, your ad only appears for search queries containing your exact keyword phrase. No variations or synonyms are used.

Using the same example, users must search for “yellow umbrellas.” The phrase “least expensive yellow umbrellas” or “yellow umbrellas for sale” are not included.

*In September 2018, Google recently updated the targeting for Exact Match keywords to include ‘close variants with the same meaning’.

Broad Match Modified

The Broad Keyword Match Modifier is a fourth option. With a BMM, you can use a broad match for multiple keywords in any order. However, the user search query must match all the keywords in the phrase.

For example, your keyword bid is for “+yellow +umbrellas”. When you select broad match, Google displays ads to users searching for any combination of those keywords. Users may search for “yellow umbrellas for men” or “umbrellas with yellow stripes” and see your ad. The order of the keywords does not matter.

Which Keyword Match Type Should You Use?

With more knowledge about the different types of matches, you should be able to determine which option is best for your needs.

The broad match type is useful for finding various keywords that fit your campaign. You may find this option beneficial when you first create an ad campaign to explore relevant keywords. The only drawback is that your ads will reach a larger audience, and some search queries may be irrelevant to your ad.

The phrase match is recommended when you need your keywords to appear in a specific order. For example, if your business is named “Brown Landscaping,” you do not need to attract queries for “Landscaping ideas for brown houses.”

The exact match type limits your target audience. However, you may prefer this option when you only want to attract relevant search queries.

Across most of our campaigns, we tend to use a combination of BMM + Exact to give us control, but also allow for some research or ‘fishing’ terms. This strategy also involves rigorously checking and adding negative keywords to exclude specific search queries.

These tips should help you select the right keyword match type. Remember to consider the pros and cons of each option. Broad provides the broadest range and least control, exact offers more control and a smaller range, while the phrase match type is right in the middle.

If you would like us to take a look at your Search campaign and provide some insights into what could be improved, speak to a consultant at Phoenix Media, contact information here.

 

 

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