The match type you choose determines how your ad will be triggered as a result. There are three match types available on the Google Ads platform:

  1. Broad Match
  2. Phrase Match
  3. Exact Match

Where broad match is less restrictive giving your ad away to a range of search terms related to the keyword, exact match is more controlled when showing your ad for the searched terms. Phrase match is a little less controlled than exact match and BMM is a type of broad match type but more controlled.


Today we will discuss about how broad match is different from phrase match and in what scenario using these match types is a feasible option.

Here is a recap of all the match types and what they mean:

“Update as on September 2019” – As per Google’s announcement on 31st July 2019, Broad Match Modifiers and Phrase Match keywords will begin matching to search queries that share the same meaning. This will help advertisers increase clicks and conversion by 3-4%.


Broad Match

It allows the ad to show when the keyword is present anywhere within the search query.

If your keyword is “chiffon sarees”, then your ad will be shown for search queries such as “printed chiffon sarees” or “sarees in chiffon” but not for search queries such as “silk sarees”.

Also, Broad match show for all close variants of the term as well as synonyms.


Phrase Match

Phrase match keywords must be present in the search query in the order that doesn’t change the meaning of the query as mentioned by you.


This is an big update from February 2021, traditionally a phrase match keyword would match to a search term written only in the same order. For example “cotton shirts” would match with “men’s cotton shirts” or “cotton shirts for boys” but not with “shirts that are made of cotton” or “shirts and skirts in soft cotton”.



But since mid February 2021 as was announced, phrase match started reaching to even the broad match modifier traffic, while maintaining the order sequence. This change means that the keyword will not match when the order changes and loses its meaning. The order in which the keyword has been added will be respected especially when it isn’t meaning is important.


For example, if the keyword is “leather bags”, it will be equivalent to +leather +bags, the following case scenario can be witnessed withe the new phrase match type:



Exact Match

With exact match type your ad will be shown only if your search query exactly matches your bidded keyword.

For instance, if your keyword is “soft toy” then your ad will not show only for the search query “soft toy”.

It means for other search queries such as “teddy soft toy” or “soft toy for kids”, your ad will not show.

The exact match type will show for close variants and also include any reordering or rephrasing of the word, as long as the meaning doesn’t change.

Broad Match Modifier

There exist also a Broad Match Modifier (BMM) : Denoted with a ‘+’ sign before the keyword(s), any search query with the keyword present in any order will trigger your ad.

For instance, if your bidded keyword is +blue +socks then your ad will show for queries such as “socks in blue color”, “blue socks for girls” or “blue boy socks”, regardless of the order in which the keywords are present.


However if any of these keywords are not present together in the query, then your ad will not show.

For instance “blue skirt for girls” or “socks in red color” will not trigger your ad as the keyword socks and blue are missing in these queries respectively.



Now, that you know what each of these match types mean, lets shift focus on when should Broad and Phrase match be selected and what differentiates one from another.


Here are few examples to explain their difference:

Keep in mind

1. Broad match keywords help source new keywords for your campaign. Keeping a campaign restricted at the time of set up might restrict you from identifying new keyword opportunities.

With broad match keywords, since the reach is expanded the opportunity window is wider. But remember to review the search terms being triggered so that the irrelevant ones can be added as negative keyword.


2. The limitation with using broad match keyword is that because of being less restrictive in nature, it might attract clicks from irrelevant terms. Adding negative keywords becomes a must-task here. Whereas Phrase match will attract limited clicks being more restrictive and hence you are spared from the trouble of adding too many negative keywords and reviewing your search terms often.


3. Broad match gives you key insight about the keyword’s performance because of catering to larger volume of search queries. Whereas for Phrase match keywords, the low volume restricts you to reach to a conclusion about the keyword performance as the data is very limited to analyze.


4. Similarly, if there are multiple ad copies that you want to access, then using Phrase Match may not be able to gather significant data for you to draw a conclusion. Using Broad match in such case can give you substantial data to determine the best ad out of it.

We in are using phrase match in cooperation with negative keywords. This approach can help you to not be too strict and in the same time keep your spendings low, when negative key words eliminate inappropriate search queries.

Fo example, for your online store with wines and gourmets products you can use as key word phrase match: “red wines” and as negative keyword a long list of words you would like to not be in search query such as: “glasses, cheep, investing, calories, effects, etc…” anything that is not related with selling a good red wines.

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