Exact Match

Exact match is a type of keyword targeting in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising that allows advertisers to specify the search queries that will trigger their ads to appear. In contrast to broad match, which allows ads to be shown for any search query that includes the targeted keywords in any order, exact match requires the search query to exactly match the targeted keywords.

How Exact Match Works

In a PPC campaign, advertisers select keywords that are relevant to their products or services and bid on those keywords in order to have their ads shown to users searching for those terms. When an advertiser selects exact match for a keyword, their ad will only be shown to users who search for that exact keyword or phrase.

For example, if an advertiser is selling red shoes and they select the keyword “red shoes” with exact match, their ad will only be shown to users who search for the exact phrase “red shoes.” It will not be shown to users who search for similar phrases like “red sneakers” or “red leather shoes.”

Exact match can also be used in combination with negative keywords, which are keywords that an advertiser specifies as being unrelated to their products or services. When a negative keyword is added to an exact match keyword, the ad will not be shown to users who search for that negative keyword in combination with the exact match keyword.

For example, if the advertiser selling red shoes adds the negative keyword “fake” to their exact match keyword “red shoes,” their ad will not be shown to users who search for “fake red shoes.”

Advantages of Exact Match

Exact match offers several advantages to advertisers compared to broad match.

Increased Relevance

One of the main benefits of exact match is that it allows advertisers to target their ads more precisely to users who are searching for their specific products or services. This can lead to higher relevance for the user, as they are more likely to find what they are looking for when they see an ad for a specific product or service.

Better Quality Scores

Google’s Quality Score is a rating system that measures the relevance and quality of an ad and its landing page. Higher Quality Scores can result in lower costs-per-click (CPCs) and higher ad rankings. Exact match keywords are generally considered to be more relevant than broad match keywords, which can lead to higher Quality Scores and lower CPCs.

More Control

Exact match gives advertisers more control over their ad targeting, as they can specify exactly which search queries will trigger their ads to be shown. This can be particularly useful for advertisers who want to avoid showing their ads for unrelated search queries or for negative keywords that could lead to unqualified traffic.

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Disadvantages of Exact Match

While exact match offers several advantages, it also has some potential disadvantages that advertisers should consider.

Limited Reach

One of the main drawbacks of exact match is that it can limit the reach of an ad campaign, as the ad will only be shown to users who search for the exact keywords or phrases specified by the advertiser. This can be a disadvantage for advertisers who want to capture a wider audience, as their ads may not be shown to users who search for related but not identical keywords or phrases.

Missed Opportunities

Another potential disadvantage of exact match is that it can miss out on potential customers who are searching for related but not identical keywords or phrases. For example, an advertiser who is targeting the exact match keyword “red shoes” may miss out on potential customers who are searching for “bright red shoes” or “red sneakers.”

More Manual Management

Exact match keywords also require more manual management compared to broad match keywords. Advertisers must continually review and update their exact match keywords to ensure that they are targeting the right search queries and to identify any missed opportunities. This can be time-consuming and may require more effort than using broad match or other keyword targeting options.

Exact Match Modifiers

To address some of the limitations of exact match, Google introduced exact match modifiers in 2018. Exact match modifiers allow advertisers to specify additional words or phrases that can be included in the search query and still trigger their ad to be shown.

For example, if an advertiser is targeting the exact match keyword “red shoes,” they can add the exact match modifier “+women” to allow their ad to be shown to users who search for “red shoes for women” or “women’s red shoes.”

Exact match modifiers can be used to expand the reach of an ad campaign while still maintaining the relevance and control of exact match targeting. However, it is important to carefully review and select the exact match modifiers to ensure that they are relevant to the product or service being advertised.

Exact Match vs. Broad Match

Exact match and broad match are the two main types of keyword targeting in PPC advertising. While exact match allows advertisers to specify the exact search queries that will trigger their ads to be shown, broad match allows ads to be shown for any search query that includes the targeted keywords in any order.

Broad match is generally considered to be less targeted and more general than exact match. It can be useful for advertisers who want to capture a wider audience or who are just starting out with PPC advertising. However, it can also lead to less relevant traffic and lower Quality Scores.

Exact match is generally considered to be more targeted and relevant than broad match, but it can also have a limited reach and require more manual management. Advertisers should carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option and choose the one that best fits their advertising goals and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can exact match include synonyms?

Exact match keywords do not automatically include synonyms. However, advertisers can use exact match modifiers to specify additional words or phrases that can be included in the search query and still trigger their ad to be shown. For example, an advertiser targeting the exact match keyword “red shoes” could use the exact match modifier “+sneakers” to allow their ad to be shown to users who search for “red sneakers.”

Can exact match include misspellings?

Exact match keywords do not automatically include misspellings. However, advertisers can use exact match modifiers to specify additional words or phrases that can be included in the search query and still trigger their ad to be shown. For example, an advertiser targeting the exact match keyword “red shoes” could use the exact match modifier “+sheos” to allow their ad to be shown to users who search for “red sheos.”

Can exact match include plural forms?

Exact match keywords do not automatically include plural forms. However, advertisers can use exact match modifiers to specify additional words or phrases that can be included in the search query and still trigger their ad to be shown. For example, an advertiser targeting the exact match keyword “red shoe” could use the exact match modifier “+shoes” to allow their ad to be shown to users who search for “red shoes.”