Updated Phrase & Broad Match Modified Keywords In Google Ads

Google recently announced an update detailing some changes to the matching behavior of phrase and broad match modified (BMM) keywords. Over the years, Google has updated their keyword match system in Google Ads to better account for the intent behind searches.

The latest changes to Google’s keyword matching system in Google Ads is meant to reduce the number of keyword matches to irrelevant searches and help advertisers simplify their account management.

What’s Changing

Starting February 18, 2021, BMM and phrase keywords will begin to match the same user searches.

This updated matching behavior may result in ads showing in searches that include the same or more specific meaning as the selected keywords. The updated matching behavior can lead to an increase in traffic on any phrase match keywords and a slight decrease in traffic for any BMM keywords.

This new phrase match will fully replace broad match modified (BMM) keywords by July 2021. While existing BMM keywords will continue to work, you can use phrase match keywords for new keywords that you would have typically added as BMM keywords.

Better Keyword Matching

In Google Ads, it’s possible to reach people with the following keyword match types:

  • Exact match for precision
  • Broad match for reach
  • Phrase & broad match modifier for a balance of both

Google is expanding phrase match to include aspects of Broad Match Modified (BMM), while maintaining word order when important to overall keyword meaning. This change provides greater keyword match reach while still maintaining a strong degree of accuracy.

These changes allow advertisers to appear in relevant searches just by using phrase match. You’ll no longer have to worry about appearing in searches you don’t want to include in your campaign and can better target search queries related to the keywords you are bidding.

Better Keyword Matching

Source: Google

What You Should Do

No direct action is needed to benefit from these updates; however, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with this new keyword matching behavior so that you can best optimize your keywords.

Some keywords that would have previously fallen under the Broad Match Modifier (BMM), will no longer be deemed relevant by the updated phrase match. This change is being slowly integrated, so Google Ads account owners will have time to determine how this update affects their keyword matching and whether they need to make any changes to keywords or keyword bidding to strike a balance between precision and reach.

Google recommends creating new keywords in phrase match going forward, since as of July 2021 you’ll no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords.

Here is an example of how some keyword matching will change with the update:

Campaign Suggestions

Source: Google

Campaign Suggestions

In order to make the most of this update, here are a few different things that you can do to prepare for the integration of match types.

Use Negative Keywords– A good way to exclude any matches that you don’t want is to create and use a negative keyword list. Irrelevant keywords will not show up in keyword matches, which allows you to better utilize your ad budget and improve overall metrics since you have more qualified leads.

Check Recommendations– The Recommendation section of Google Ad helps you with up to data suggestions for optimizing your campaign, including adding new keyword suggestions or consolidating any duplicate keywords.

Monitor Performance– Keep an eye on campaign traffic, since these updates may cause some fluctuations. You may need to make campaign changes to promote some keywords more than others if they are not included in the updated phrase match.

Shift Your Budget– It might take some time to see changes from these updates, but once you notice a difference in keyword performance, you can begin to shift your budget to better optimize your campaign. You may even find that you save more money and get better matches.

Use Broad Match & Smart Bidding– If the update phrase match and phasing out of Broad Match Modifier has you concerned about losing coverage of certain topics or keywords, consider using broad match with the Smart Bidding function from Google. The combination of these features helps you reach more relevant searches and meet your objectives.

Get Help With Google Ads

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If you’re interested in getting more leads, conversions, and staying up to date on the latest ad developments, schedule a call with our team.