Google Ads Updates Their Match Type Functions

February 4, 2021

Today Google announced plans to update their match type functions.

Ultimately, Google Ads will eliminate broad match modifiers (BMM) and update how phrase match targeting functions to expand matching capabilities. The goal of this change is to increase relevancy from query to keyword and ultimately improve the connection between brand and customer. The new phrase match type will be broader than the old phrase rules that require specific phrases and work order, but less broad than BMM. 

In addition to the new and improved phrase match, exact and broad keyword match types will also update in function.

  • Exact match will soon become the dominant bid to auction, overriding previous ad rank logic that often allowed the phrase and broad match version of keywords to win the auction. In other words, if present in the account, the exact match version of a keyword will always be pushed into the auction. So, if your bid or Quality Score is not high enough, you stand to lose impression share.
  • Broad match will update to consider both content on the advertiser website and content within your Google Ads account. Overall, the goal is to better refine the broad match functions and to hone in search intent.

Do we all need to go restructure our keyword campaigns right now? A clear and resounding NO.

The changes will start rolling out in February and are projected to be complete in April for select languages. Google does not recommend shifting BMM keywords over to phrase yet. BMM keywords will continue to function normally through the roll out process.

What are the next steps? 

1. Observe and respond to performance when the changes launch. Be prepared to shift your budgets and bidding strategies when you see volume or performance movement.

2. Monitor your search queries and how they match to keywords from February through April to find gaps, which you can then add to your phrase match program. Ultimately, we want to limit any negative impact on traffic.

3. Stay on top of your search query reports to exclude irrelevant traffic.

4. Check your Recommendations tab for new keyword suggestions from Google. This step will be critical to ensure you do not lose impression share on relevant queries since phrase match will be a narrower focus than the previous BMM.

5. For accounts that currently are not live on phrase match in lieu of BMM, you may want to develop phrase keywords to build learning, history, negatives and quality score.

6. Review your directional negatives in phrase match campaigns/ad groups to make sure you’re not blocking traffic you want.

What else should we keep in mind?

1. Negative match types are NOT changing.

2. Bid automation should adjust to performance. Therefore, no immediate changes should be made unless there’s a performance shift.

3. Don’t panic! We’ve gone through changes before (i.e.: the introduction of BMM, close variants and DSA) and we will go through more in the future. Ultimately, a simplified match type structure could improve management if the updated capabilities on phrase don’t hinder volume.

See Google’s announcement here and stay tuned for updates and learnings! Contact your ForwardPMX team if you have any immediate questions or concerns.

Follow ForwardPMX

Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive our monthly insights.

  • By submitting your Email Address, you are agreeing to all conditions of our Privacy Policy
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You May Find These Interesting

So Long, Last Click Attribution

Finally! Goodbye last click. I will not remember you fondly. Google’s announcement that last click attribution is on its way out is very welcomed news to everyone here at Assembly. From this month on, Google will replace last click measurement with Data Driven...

read more