Google’s Making a Big Change to Keyword Matching in Ads

Posted: in Pulse on the Industry , Paid Digital Advertising

Per Google:

Starting in February 2021, phrase match will begin to incorporate behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach relevant customers. With this change, both phrase and broad match modifier keywords will have the same matching behavior, and may show ads on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. This also means that the new matching behavior will consider word order when relevant to the meaning. For example, the phrase match keyword “moving services NYC to Boston.” will continue to cover searches like “affordable moving services NYC to Boston.” It will also cover searches that traditionally only matched under broad match modifier, such as “NYC corporate moving services to Boston.” Phrase match won’t show ads for searches where the direction is reversed (for example, people looking to move from “Boston to New York City”).

In July 2021, the creation of BMM keywords will no longer be available, but the same matching functionality will be available through phrase match. Existing BMM keywords will continue to serve using the new behavior. For more information on this change, read the official announcement post about the new behavior.

What does this mean for me?

Broad match modifier has long been a goto for PPC campaign management experts like HLM. Simply, this update gives Google more control to show your ads for searches Google “thinks” are relevant in addition to what you specify as the campaign manager. Google claims this will positively impact performance across campaigns, but we’ll be closely monitoring to see exactly what that impact may be. Like any update there are challenges and opportunities.

How we see this update being challenging

  • Could increase spend and add wasted spend to campaign
  • More time will be required to optimize negative keywords

How are we seeing opportunities from this update

  • This could reveal keywords not previously targeted which convert well
  • Less sophisticated campaign managers may struggle and back out of the ad platform reducing competition

You can read more about how the search community is discussing the issue here.

Jon Bowerman
Chief Technology Officer

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