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Google Ads: updating keyword matches

Caroline Poyet
by Caroline Poyet

Reading : 2 min

A few days ago, Google announced a major change in the updating of keyword matches on Google Ads starting from 18 February 2021.

The types of matches in question are as follows: keywords from exact expressions and those with a broad match modifier.

We will help you decode this key information.

Types of Google Ads matches

Keywords are words or expressions used by Google Ads to match a search with an ad.

For the ad to be included in the bidding, the types of keyword matches make it possible to determine to what extent the keyword matches the user's search term.

Thus, “broad search” matches enable an ad to be distributed to a higher number of users. 

“Exact” keywords restrict the the targeting to a precise match with a keyword.

In short: 

  • Broad matches mean your ad may show on searches related to your keyword. It's a useful option if you want to attract more visitors to your website, for example
  • Phrase match means your ad will show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword, offering you greater flexibility than an exact match
  • Exact match means your ad will appear in searches with the same meaning or intent as your keyword and offer you the most control over your audience

What are broad match modifiers? 

Broad matches mean you don't miss out on potentially useful matches, on the other hand, your ad may show on infrequently targeted matches.

Basically, the broad match modifier allows you to retain the advantage of visibility, whilst enabling more precise targeting. 

By adding a “+” before one or more keywords, you can show Google Ads that this term (or a close variant) should feature in a search. For example, Google no longer took synonyms into account.

The broad match modifier made it possible to position yourself on targeted searches, with more flexibility than exact matches and more precision than broad matches.

For example, if your keyword is "red coat for woman" with exact matching, the ad would not show in searches for "woman's red coat" because of the word order. The broad match modifier solves this problem.

If you had chosen the same keyword with broad matching, your ad would show on searches such as "dog coat", "dress for woman" Clearly, these are matches that are not targeted.

Exact expressions now include the broad match modifier 


About changes to phrase match and broad match modifier [Diagram]New: the broad match modifier is disappearing and will be included in phrase match.

By July, this new version will have completely replaced the broad match modifier and it will no longer be possible to create them. Above all, this update represents a considerable time saving.

Between now and then, broad matches will make it possible to target a huge audience, exact matches more precise audiences, and modified exact phrases, somewhere in-between. 

As you can see, this update marks the end of broad match modifiers. That's why we would advise you to take a look at your updated exact phrase keywords! 

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