Matching options in Google Ads exposed to big updates

Even though people still search for one thing, the way they search for it is constantly changing. Therefore, after updating exact match last fall, Google also comes with an update for two other types – phrase match and broad match modifier. We’ve answered the basic questions you might be interested in regarding this change.

How does it look like now?

So far, the broad match modifier worked so that it could show your ad if the search terms contained keywords marked by “+” in any order, including their grammatical variations or misspellings.

The phrase match was a little stricter. Your ad could only appear when the phrase you entered appeared in the search term in a specific order. It could not be disturbed by another word. So, if your keyword was “men’s clothing”, it wouldn’t show for the search query “men’s winter clothing” or “male clothing”.

Learn more about the current status of keyword matching options

What will the update change?

Google has decided to modify these options based on the observed user behavior, as mentioned in the first part of this article.

After the update, your keywords will match in search terms that they would not match normally. It will no longer be just grammatical errors or misspellings that will be justified. Keywords will now also match words with similar meaning. In order for your ad to show for a given keyword setting, the search query may contain synonyms of the keyword.

What will it look like in the example from above? If your phrase match keyword is “men’s clothing” your ad may appear in the following queries: “men’s clothers”, “male clothing”, “male apparel”, and so on. However, it will still not appear if the order of the phrase is disrupted.

How to get the most from this update?

As with most Google Ads updates, it is difficult to predict whether the impact of this change will be positive or negative without actually testing is. The advantage is undoubtedly that you don’t have to keep a long list of keywords you’re advertising for anymore. On the other hand, you need to be honest about possible synonyms that might disrupt your campaign.

Here are some tips on how to get ready for this change:

  1. Monitor the performance and optimize

Obviously, new updates will affect your campaign performance. You may need to change and customize some of the settings you used to the date or the ad copy. Therefore, we recommend to automate described below where possible.

  1. Work with negative keywords

Since now the matches will also work with synonyms, you need to consider them when setting up your keywords. Use the Search Terms Report to analyze which ones led visitors to your site or conversion. Include those that did not in the list as negative keywords.

  1. Automate

We constantly emphasize the fact that automation significantly simplifies your work while making your advertising more efficient. It also plays an important role in the changes that await matching options. Because the performance of your keywords and campaigns may change as a result of this update, you will need to optimize them more often. If you haven’t done so already, we recommend using automated Smart Bidding to save time on optimization.

About the Author:

Marek Fule
Consultant for online business and marketing. Holder of every Google Ads certification. Account manager for BlueWinston and Shopping in EU. CSS Hero. Gamer.