Suitable keyword match types for your campaign

Keywords are a way for you to bring your ad to relevant search queries in Google Search to reach customers who are looking for services or products you offer. By setting them up correctly, you reduce the risk of wasting your budget, as well as unnecessary displays for users who are not interested in your services.

Keywords are the basis for advertising in Google Ads (respectively Google AdWords). To work correctly, you need to adapt them to the relevant search queries. Keyword matching options are the parameters you set for keywords to show your ads in search when applicable. These settings determine which search queries will trigger your ad.

In this blog, we will show you the basic keyword match options and show you the differences between them to help you choose the most advantageous one for your campaign. There are 4 types:

Broad match type

This type of match is the default setting for all keywords and is the most flexible solution if you are trying to target a wider audience.

Your ad may also appear for queries that are not exactly the same as your keywords (e.g. grammatical errors, synonyms, etc.). If your keyword is “men’s clothing”, your ad may appear if someone searches “buy clothes for men”.

While this will save you a lot of time because you leave most of the work for the algorithms, you run the risk of showing your ad on less relevant search queries.

Broad match modifier

This type resembles the broad match, but it is a bit more exact. However, it only shows your ads for search queries that include plus-marked keywords (+ men’s, + clothes), and their variations. So you append “+” to the words, which when appear in the search query, the user is most likely looking for your product.

Phrase match

When you set a phrase match, your ad will show only if its exact form is in the search query. It is targeted more narrowly than the previous options, but still flexible.

For men’s clothing, your ad would appear when you search for “elegant men’s clothing”, “men’s clothing”, and so on. However, it would not appear in cases such as “men’s winter clothing” or “cheap clothing for men”.

If this phrase is disturbed, for example, its words are reversed or additional ones are inserted between, the ad will not appear. That means that the word order is important. We use quotation marks (“men’s clothing”) to set up the phrases.

Exact match

This is the least flexible setting of all mentioned. Your ad will appear on search queries that contain the exact keyword or its closely related variation. Related variations include keywords with the same meaning, but also reordering, adding, or deleting functional words.

Thus, if you sell “men’s clothing” your ad may appear in queries like “elegant men’s clothing”, “men’s winter clothing”, but not “winter clothing for men”.

Accurately match your search terms. At the same time, your bid is more likely to appear to users who are looking for and interested in it.
To set the exact match, enter a keyword in square brackets [men’s clothing].

Negative keywords

In addition to the keywords which trigger the display of your ad, you can also set negative keywords. Negative or exclusive keywords are words or phrases for which your ad will not appear. This limits all previous options for your ad not to appear unnecessarily for people who are not interested in your products or services.

Therefore, if you sell only men’s clothing, you can include the word “women’s” as a negative keyword by appending minus symbol (-women´s). When people search for “clothing”, your ad may appear. But when you search for “women’s clothing”, your ad will not appear.

When setting up keyword matches, you can build on the search history and queries that led people to your site. In your ad settings, you can see what terms users searched for when they clicked on your ad. As a result, you can update your keyword list with words or phrases to target or list negative keywords so that your ad will not appear unnecessarily.

You choose the appropriate settings based on how large and relevant audience you want to target. In a broad match, your ad may display a larger number of people, but this may not result in conversions. Conversely, with an exact match the number of users is smaller, but there is a greater chance of a return on investment.

Of course, keyword matching is not the only parameter that determines the performance of your ad. However, we strongly recommend you not underestimate this setting because it also has a significant share in the success of your advertising.

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About the Author:

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