Match Type

Match types are a way of determining the relationship between the keywords in a PPC ad campaign and the search queries that trigger the display of the ads. There are four main match types in Google Ads (Google’s PPC advertising platform): exact match, phrase match, broad match, and broad match modifier. Each match type has its own rules for how closely the keyword must match the search query in order to trigger the ad.

In this article, we will explore the different match types in detail, including their definitions, how they work, and when to use them. We will also provide examples and tips for optimising your PPC campaigns using match types. Finally, we will answer some common questions about match types and provide some additional resources for further reading.

Exact Match

Exact match is the most restrictive match type. It specifies that the keyword must match the search query exactly, including the order of the words and any other modifiers. Exact match keywords are usually denoted by enclosing them in square brackets, like this: [keyword].

For example, if an advertiser is targeting the exact match keyword [red shoes], 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 variations such as “red high heels”, “red sneakers”, or “shoes in red”.

Exact match is useful for targeting specific, high-converting keywords. It can help to reduce the number of irrelevant clicks on an ad and improve the quality score of the ad campaign. However, it may also limit the reach of the ad, as it will only be shown to a small subset of users.

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Phrase Match

Phrase match is less restrictive than exact match, but still requires a close match between the keyword and the search query. A phrase match keyword is denoted by enclosing it in quotation marks, like this: “keyword”.

With phrase match, the keyword must appear in the search query in the same order as it is written, but other words can appear before or after it. For example, an advertiser targeting the phrase match keyword “red shoes” might have their ad shown to users who search for “women’s red shoes”, “red shoes for men”, or “comfortable red shoes”. However, their ad would not be shown to users who search for “red sneakers” or “shoes in red”.

Phrase match can be a good compromise between the targeting of exact match and the reach of broad match. It allows for some flexibility in the search query while still maintaining a high level of relevance.

Broad Match

Broad match is the most flexible match type, and it is the default setting for keywords in Google Ads. A broad match keyword does not have any special syntax, and it is not enclosed in brackets or quotation marks.

With broad match, the keyword can appear in any order in the search query, and other words can appear before, after, or in between the keywords. For example, an advertiser targeting the broad match keyword red shoes might have their ad shown to users who search for “red sneakers”, “women’s shoes in red”, or “comfortable red high heels”.

Broad match is the most flexible match type and can be useful for reaching a wide audience, but it can also result in a high number of irrelevant clicks and a low-quality score. Advertisers should be careful to use negative keywords (keywords that you do not want your ad to be shown for) to help filter out irrelevant searches.

Broad Match Modifier

Broad match modifier is a variant of broad match that allows for more control over which searches trigger an ad. A broad match modifier keyword is denoted by adding a plus sign (+) in front of one or more words in the keyword, like this: +keyword.

The plus sign indicates that the modified word must appear in the search query, but it can appear in any order and other words can appear before, after, or in between the modified words. For example, an advertiser targeting the broad match modifier keyword +red +shoes might have their ad shown to users who search for “red sneakers”, “women’s shoes in red”, or “comfortable red high heels”. However, their ad would not be shown to users who search for “blue shoes” or “comfortable shoes”.

Broad match modifier can be a useful compromise between the flexibility of broad match and the targeting of phrase match. It allows for more control over which searches trigger an ad while still reaching a wide audience.

Comparison of Match Types

Match TypeSyntaxDescription
Exact Match[keyword]The keyword must match the search query exactly, including the order of the words and any other modifiers.
Phrase Match“keyword”The keyword must appear in the search query in the same order as it is written, but other words can appear before or after it.
Broad Matchkeyword (no special syntax)The keyword can appear in any order in the search query, and other words can appear before, after, or in between the keywords.
Broad Match Modifier+keywordThe modified word must appear in the search query, but it can appear in any order and other words can appear before, after, or in between the modified words.

Tips for Using Match Types

  • Use exact match for high-converting, specific keywords to reduce the number of irrelevant clicks and improve the quality score of the ad campaign.
  • Use phrase match for a compromise between the targeting of exact match and the reach of broad match.
  • Use broad match for a wide reach, but be sure to use negative keywords to filter out irrelevant searches.
  • Use broad match modifier for more control over which searches trigger an ad while still reaching a wide audience.

FAQ

Can I use multiple match types in the same ad campaign?

Yes, you can use multiple match types in the same ad campaign. In fact, it is often recommended to use a combination of match types in order to reach a wider audience while still maintaining a high level of relevance.

How do I know which match type to use?

The best match type for your ad campaign will depend on your goals and the specific keywords that you are targeting. If you are targeting specific, high-converting keywords, exact match may be the best option. If you want a compromise between the targeting of exact match and the reach of broad match, phrase match may be a good choice. For a wide reach, broad match may be appropriate, but be sure to use negative keywords to filter out irrelevant searches. Broad match modifier allows for more control over which searches trigger an ad while still reaching a wide audience.

Can I change the match type of an existing keyword?

Yes, you can change the match type of an existing keyword in your ad campaign. Simply edit the keyword and select the new match type from the drop-down menu. Keep in mind that changing the match type may affect the performance of the keyword and the ad campaign as a whole, so it is important to carefully consider the implications of the change.

Can I use match types with negative keywords?

Yes, you can use match types with negative keywords in your ad campaign. Negative keywords are keywords that you do not want your ad to be shown for, and they can help to filter out irrelevant searches and improve the quality score of your ad campaign. You can use negative keywords with any match type, including exact match, phrase match, broad match, and broad match modifier.

How do match types affect the performance of my ad campaign?

The performance of your ad campaign can be affected by the match type you use for your keywords. Exact match keywords may have a higher quality score and lower cost-per-click (CPC) compared to other match types, but they may also have a lower reach. Phrase match keywords may have a lower quality score and higher CPC compared to exact match, but they may also have a wider reach. Broad match keywords may have a lower quality score and higher CPC compared to other match types, but they may also have the widest reach. Broad match modifier keywords may have a higher quality score and lower CPC compared to broad match, but they may also have a somewhat narrower reach. It is important to consider the balance between reach, quality score, and CPC when choosing a match type for your keywords.