Google AdWords is an advertising system that advertisers use to bid on specific keywords in order for their ads to appear in Google’s search results. Most advertisers focus on trying to get clicks, impressions, or conversions on their website but you can also target views (for videos) and engagements.
The platform offers multiple ways to bid on keywords of your choosing, using what are called “Match Types”. Match types let you specify the different ways users would type in keywords related to your product or service. For example, you could specify you only want your ad to show when a user types in a keyword EXACTLY as you specify. This is called an “exact match” keyword.
Let’s look at the different ways you can target keywords, by exploring the five different match types available.
Your ads will be shown for the keywords you specify but also for any synonyms, and closely related search terms as well as misspelled words. Use caution when using broad match types because your ads will, most likely, trigger for keywords that you had not intended.
For example, if you use the keyword “piano”, your ad may also appear for search queries such as “piano sales”, “piano lessons”, “piano recitals” as well as misspellings, plural forms and any potential stemmed variations (for example taking into account a list of common prefixes and suffixes)
Use Broad Match Type keywords to target the maximum possible audience for your campaign. Broad match keywords have the best chances of triggering your ad for a wide variety of searches. For example, if your keywords are, “office supplies,” your ad may trigger when keywords like: office supplies, buy office, buy supplies, office supply reviews and many other variations of keywords.
Remember, this is a great way to get exposure, but it can also be costly if you’re paying for clicks from people looking for cleaning supplies, office space, or to buy something completely unrelated to office supplies.
Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned. Broad match can get you a lot of exposure, but may not give you desired results. It’s imperative to continually review your search term reports to determine which are yielding the best results. The ones that are performing well, will determine how you proceed to the following types of matches. Generally speaking we do not recommend this match type because it can be too broad and generate costs for irrelevant searches.
Broad Match + Modifier (BMM)
This Match Type allows you to specify which keywords must be in the search, as well as close variations of your keyword but not synonyms. The order of the word search doesn’t matter, as long as the search parameters contain the specific words you choose. Ads will also show for misspellings, singular and plural forms, as well as words ending in “ing,” such as craft and crafting. In order to create broad match modifiers, simply add a plus sign (+) to words that are required in the search.
This is actually a HUGE addition to the match qualifiers, because it gives more visibility to your ad, plus control over how you spend your money. BMM is a much safer option for those who have been worried about wasting money by using Broad Match Keywords. BMM is still a wider net than Phrase Match, but not nearly has wide as Broad Match.
If you’ve been looking for a way to increase your qualified traffic, BMM is a great option for savvy advertisers. Using this feature will also continue to encourage Google to add new options.
This Match Type has traditionally been the narrowest keyword setting but there has been many revisions to this match type over the years, loosening it from exact match, to “matched intent”. Searchers will only see your ad if they search for the exact keywords you have in your campaign or where Google’s machine learning detects that the intent of the user’s query matches your exact match keyword.
Exact matching is beneficial when you want to reach an audience looking for exact terms; such as “hats with peacock feathers”, “bifocal sunglasses”, or “multi-colored light bulbs”.
Of the four keyword Match Type options, exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad, and can result in a higher click through rate (CTR). Ads will show on searches that match the exact term OR are close variations. Close variations can also include a reordering of words, where the meaning remains in tact. It can also mean the addition or removal of function words – a word whose purpose is to contribute to the syntax rather than the meaning of a sentence, for example do in we do not live here.
Close variants may also include or remove: misspellings, singular or plural forms, “ing” words, abbreviations (like etc. as opposed to etcetera), accents, reordered words function words (like in or to), conjunctions (like for or but), articles (like a or the), and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search. For example, sunblock for children is a close variant of children’s sunblock with the function word “for” removed.
When you use exact match, you’ll most likely see a higher click through rate (CTR), because you’re targeting a very tight phrasing or intent.
This Match Type requires an exact order of keywords to be present in a user search, but allows other words to be written before or after the phrase as well. For example, if your keyword phrase is “web developer” your ad may appear for a search for “best web developer” or “web developer in Florida”. In order to create a phrase match, you simply add quotation marks before and after the exact phrase.
Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, with additional words before or after, but not if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way.
Phrase match is more relevant to your keyword and will trigger your ad when people searching for something specific.
Negative Keyword Match
This is a special kind of keyword that blocks searches you do not want to pay for. Negative keywords allow you to exclude words that might commonly be searched for in relation to the keywords you are targeting, but which you don’t want to pay for. So, if you’re a shoe seller and you offer various kinds of boots, but you don’t sell cowboy boots, you could simply add a minus sign (-) before the word “cowboy” to eliminate your ads from being shown when someone searches on cowboy boots.
When selecting negative keywords look for think about which terms are similar to your keywords that you don’t want to be found for. For example, if you’re selling “cocktail glasses” you don’t want to appeal to people looking for “reading glasses”.
The goal is to eliminate the cost of paying for searches that aren’t relevant.
Better keyword choices can put your ad in front of interested users and increase your return on investment (ROI). One of the basic keys to a successful campaign is finding and using the best combination of keyword match types for you or your business.
Need Keyword Match Type Help?
Still not sure which match types are best for you or don’t have the time to manage this process? ClearTech Interactive can help! Since 2003 we’ve helped hundreds of customers all across US increase their business through Google Ads. If you’re looking for better Google advertising results, you owe it to yourself to have an expert review your gameplan. Our experienced Google Ads specialists know how to set up effective Google AdWords campaigns to increase your traffic while also lowering costs.