Google Ads Keyword Matching Options is a subject that all marketers need to stay on the pulse with. If you’re not familiar with Phrase & Broad Match already, you can look at our blog here where we tell you everything you need about Keyword Match Types.

Back to the here and now. Changes are already happening, and more is to come later in the year, so what will this mean for your Google Ads? Read on to find out more about the changes.

Let’s Start With The Important News

Towards the end of February 2021, Google announced the rollout of changes to Broad Match Modifier (BMM) – the manual control you use in Google AdWords to restrict and control who sees your ad. Between now and July 2021, phrase match will begin to incorporate behaviours of broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach relevant customers. This will allow BMM to be phased out and no longer be available from July. You can read the official announcement from Google here.

What Will This Mean For Your Google Ads?

The truth is, we don’t know yet and we’ll need to be watching our ad performance closely to monitor whether there will be a significant drop in impressions, or whether Google’s algorithm and machine learning is in fact advanced enough to work as BMM did. If the new Phrase Match delivers the results it promises, it will be great news for us.

Rather than having four keyword match types to work on, we’ll only have three, simplifying how we build our Google Ads. The behaviour matching will mean we still get the benefits BMM offered while removing those impressions where the intent meant the ad shouldn’t have been shown previously.

What Do The Changes Look Like?

Let’s take a look at an example to see what this means in practise. With the change, both phrase and broad match modifier keywords will have the same matching behaviour and may show ads on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. The new matching behaviour will also consider word order when that’s relevant to the meaning.

google ads match type changes 2021

For example, the phrase match keyword “moving services NYC to Boston” will continue to cover searches like “affordable moving services NYC to Boston” as well as covering searches that traditionally only matched under broad match modifier, such as “NYC corporate moving services to Boston”. The intent is moving from one specific place to another so whether corporate or private, the meaning is the same.

The new phrase match won’t show ads for searches where the direction is reversed (for example, people looking to move from “Boston to New York City”) because the meaning is different.

What Can You Expect To See With Your Phrase and BMM Traffic?

For your phrase keywords, it’s possible you might see an increase in traffic volumes. You should closely monitor your search terms report and account performance.

For your BMM keywords, especially those using modifiers on some words but not all (for example +moving services), it’s possible you might see a decrease in traffic volumes. To avoid losing traffic volume, you could do any or all of the following:

  • Add additional relevant phrase match keywords.
  • Explore “Add keywords” recommendations to recover traffic volume.
  • Add broad match keywords along with a smart bidding strategy.
  • Compare your BMM keywords’ performance over time to see which search queries show decreased traffic and add new phrase match keywords where you need to.

What Do You Need To Do Now?

As an agency, we’ll no longer be using BMM in our Google Ads campaigns and will instead invest our energy in the three Keyword Match Types – it seems counterproductive when we know the new phrase match will behave the same as BMM. We recommend you therefore consider only creating phrase match keywords going forward.

We will say it’s worth bearing this in mind though. Your existing BMM keywords will continue to work for now and there are no performance benefits to converting your BMM keywords. If you do choose to convert your BMM keywords to phrase match, the BMM keywords’ performance statistics will not carry over to the new phrase instances of the keywords.

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Find out more

For more Google Ads Keyword Support, Uzair hosted a Google Ads Q&A over on YouTube, specifically on this topic. You can watch the video here.

Did you enjoy this blog?

We hope you found this blog useful and can use it to make decisions on your own Google Ads campaigns. We regularly share tips, advice and any new updates in our blog and would encourage you to take a look whether you’re new to Google Ads or an experienced digital marketer.

There will be something in the library for everyone. You can find our blog here. We also have a YouTube channel and have run many sessions from building live campaigns to Q&A discussions. You can catch up on those by visiting SF Digital Studios.

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About Uzair Kharawala
Uzair Kharawala is the Co-Founder at SF Digital. He is a Certified Google Partner, is a Cricket fanatic and loves Photography.
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