22/07/2023 • Adam Moody
When building your search PPC campaigns you need to decide upon a match keyword type, which tells Google how broad or restrictive you want your ads to match its queries. The three different match types are:
Google Ads match types help an advertiser not waste spend on irrelevant search queries, while also presenting new advertising opportunities that you may not have thought of. Used correctly Google ads match types can be a powerful tool that helps boost your campaign's performance.
As a Google Ads advertiser, you know that effective use of match types can be a great way to capture relevant traffic and achieve your performance targets. Read on to learn more about the differences between keyword match types for PPC ads, how they’ve changed over recent years, the type of traffic they generate, and how to implement them.
When creating a search ad in your PPC campaign, you can choose between a broad match, phrase match, or exact match for your keyword match type. Each match type in your Google Ads account has its own advantages and disadvantages.
|How it looks
|search terms that relate to your keyword
size 4 footballs
men's football boots
|search terms that include the meaning of your keyword
best for footballs for kids
|search terms that match your keyword
The default match type, known as broad match, allows you to reach a wide audience with your ads. By using broad match, your ad becomes eligible to appear whenever a user's search query includes any word from your key phrase, regardless of the order. Additionally, your ad may show up for queries that include words related to your keyword.
For instance, if you decide on a broad match on the keyword "luxury holiday home," your search ad could be displayed when a user searches for "luxury holiday homes," "luxury apartments," "luxury vacation rentals," or even "the finest apartments" (even though it doesn't match your specific keyword terms).
While broad match keywords can generate a high number of clicks, advertisers must closely monitor their search query reports to avoid paying for irrelevant traffic that doesn't lead to conversions.
To prevent your ad from appearing on unrelated searches, you can establish negative keywords at ad group, campaign, and account levels. These negative keywords help control costs by ensuring your ad doesn't display when it's not relevant to your business.
Phrase match provides a balance between the flexibility of a broad match and the ability to maintain control. When using phrase match, your ad will only be displayed when a user searches for your key phrase using your specified keywords in the exact order. However, there may be additional words before or after the key phrase.
In 2019, Google expanded the capabilities of phrase match to include queries that contain synonyms, plurals, or similar variations of your keyword. For instance, if your target key phrase is "car cleaning service," your ad could now also appear for searches like "car cleaning services near me" or "local car cleaning services," in addition to "car cleaning service costs" or "car cleaning service London”.
|Phrase match keyword
|Queries before the update
|Queries after the update
|car cleaning service
|car cleaning service costs
|car cleaning services near me
|car cleaning service London
|local car cleaning services
Furthermore, in 2021, Google merged an old match type named broad match modifier into phrase match and retired it. As a result, phrase-match keywords are now able to match with a wider range of search queries. For example, if your phrase match keyword is "gaming pc for sale", your ad might be displayed for searches related to "gaming Alienware pc for sale".
The exact match type is the most precise and stringent among keyword match types. In the past, with this match type, your ad would only be displayed when users entered your exact keyword phrase on its own. For instance, if your keyword phrase was "black running shoes" your ad would only appear when a user searched for "black running shoes”, but not for "black shoes", or "cheap black running shoes", as the search terms are not in the exact order of the keyword.
|EXACT match keyword
|Why it matched
|yosemite national park ca camping
|campsites in yosemite
One advantage of using exact match terms is that users who click on your ad while searching for that precise phrase are more likely to have a genuine interest in your product or service. This use of exact matches can help reduce unwanted costs and maintain high conversion rates. However, on the downside, you may experience lower traffic due to the restrictions imposed by this exact match. The more specific search queries associated with exact match have lower search volume, resulting in fewer overall impressions.
However, Google has recently introduced changes to the exact match type, allowing ads to match searches that include synonyms, plurals, or other variations of your keyword, even when using exact match keywords. This provides you with a bit more flexibility when using this match type.
Similar to the keywords you want your ads to target you can set your negative keywords as broad, phrase, and exact match at an account, campaign, and ad group level.
Negative keywords serve the purpose of excluding your ads from particular search queries, enabling you to concentrate on targeting the appropriate audience. While your ads will be displayed for relevant terms, they will not appear for the exact query you have specified.
Match types can have a major impact on your account’s performance: they’re the control you use to determine exactly which search queries you’re bidding on. As you determine which match types to use for each keyword, there are a few key components to consider:
Choosing the right match types is crucial because it allows you to reach your target audience while avoiding unnecessary spend on irrelevant clicks. The first step, of course, is to have relevant keywords, to begin with through a stringent keyword research process.
In conclusion, understanding and utilising Google Ads match types effectively can greatly impact the success of your PPC campaigns. By choosing the appropriate match type for your keywords—whether it's broad match, phrase match, or exact match—you can strike a balance between reaching a wider audience and maintaining control over the relevance of your ads.
Choosing the right match types requires considering factors such as past performance, competitor strategies, bid management, ad text, and overall account structure. It's crucial to conduct thorough keyword research and continuously analyse and optimise your campaigns to ensure they align with your goals and target the right audience.
Ultimately, Google Ads match types are a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can help you boost your campaign's performance, increase conversions, and maximise the return on your investment. By understanding the nuances of each match type and employing them strategically, you can create effective PPC campaigns that drive meaningful results for your business.
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