Google is updating their keyword targeting on Google Ads with the goal to make it easier for accounts to reach their best potential customers on search.

In mid-February, 2021, Google began rolling out new matching behavior and saying goodbye to its Modified Broad Match option. This is one of four existing keyword match types on Google Ads—keyword matching allows you to carefully fine tune your targeting strategy on Google Ads, helping you find the best customers who are searching for what you offer. By sunsetting this particular matching option, Google will improve the effectiveness of its targeting within its other three available match types.

We're rolling out changes to phrase match and broad match modifier that make it easier for you to reach your customers, no matter how they’re searching.

Source: Google

This will be a slow roll-out by Google and should end in April. By July of this year, advertisers will no longer be able to add broad match modifiers to their keyword bidding. In this blog we’re going to cover exactly what Google’s current keyword matching options are, how they’re changing as a result of this update, and what Netsertive is doing to monitor these updates on behalf of our customers.

The Basics: Keyword Matching Behaviors

Google Ads is a powerful advertising tool—that’s why it currently boasts over 2 million advertising accounts and more than 7 million advertisers. Over the years, Google has routinely updated their advertising platform to make it more effective at helping customers find the products and services they’re searching for. These updates typically have a profound impact on the operations that go into running a successful advertising campaign on Google Ads.

This most recent update affects keyword matching behavior. Keyword matching refers to your keyword strategy for a search ad campaign. Targeting for these campaigns is built upon a mountain of different keyword combinations—customized versions of keywords (optimized with different modifiers and behaviors) to target as well as keywords you don’t want your ads to show up for (negatives).

Prior to Google’s mid-February update, there were four keyword matching options:

Broad Match

When someone searches for variations of a broad match keyword, it pulls in results for those variations as well as other related topics. For example, if you insert “bicycle bell” as a broad match keyword in your campaign, your ad may show for the following search queries:  “cycling accessories,” “blue bicycle helmets,” and "bell reviews for bikes."

Modified Broad Match

In an effort to simplify their available keyword matching behaviors, and show more relevant ads to user searches, Google is incorporating the behaviors of this ad group into its Phrase Match. They will also phase out any support for Modified Broad Match keywords.

Phrase Match

For this matching type, if a search includes the meaning of your targeted keyword, your ad may show. This type is more targeted than broad match and may help reach more customers who are searching for what your business offers.

For example, if your keyword phrase match is “tennis shoes,” the following search queries may trigger your ad to appear: “shoes for tennis,” “buy tennis shoes on sale,” “red tennis shoes,” and “comfortable tennis sneakers.”

Exact Match

This match type gives you the most precise control over what search queries trigger your ads. For example, if your exact match keyword is [shoes for men], your ads may appear for the following queries: “shoes men,” “men shoes,” etc.

But, with exact match, your ads will not show for these keywords: “mens tennis shoes,” “shoes for boys.”

So… What’s Changing?

Google is incorporating the most effective aspects of Modified Broad Match into its Phrase Match to give advertisers more precise control over their keyword targeting. So, phrase match will begin to include modified broad match traffic while respecting the order of words in a search query as it matches the keyword in order to most accurately determine user intent.

Phrase match will now have the best of both its existing targeting  AND the best of broad match modifier.

This is the example Google gave:

“With these improvements, you can reach the searches you want just by using phrase match—without worrying about the searches you don’t want. Let’s say you’re a moving company that wants to reach people interested in moving out of New York City. With the updated phrase match, you can reach people looking to move from NYC to Boston, for example, without showing up for people looking to move from Boston to NYC.”

In addition to those changes, Google is also updating its other matching behaviors—broad match and exact match—to be even more precise at matching a user’s search intent.

Exact Match

Google is fine tuning their exact match option so that search queries that exactly match the keyword will always be preferred over other ad types and variants. Although the results of this change will likely be minimal at first, it’s important for advertisers to carefully monitor their search queries and performance to ensure they’re showing up where it matters.

Broad Match

A common complaint of broad match targeting is that, well, it’s too broad. Occasionally, it can trigger irrelevant ad spend as a result of keyword variations in the search query. This new update adds additional signals to the match type criteria to increase accuracy and relevance.

What is Netsertive Doing?

We’re committed to staying on top of all updates that might affect our customers’ advertising campaigns. Our Strategy and Execution Teams are carefully monitoring all of our customer keyword pods for any large changes in impression volume and performance to make sure we are keeping track of any changes.

If you monitor the advertising for your business, you should check on your ad groups’ performance regularly. If you come across any ad groups that you are seeing large changes in—whether it’s an outrageous Cost-Per-Click or a huge spike in impressions at 2 a.m.—be sure to carefully review its setup and messaging to ensure it’s converting as efficiently as possible.

If you’re a Netsertive customer, we’re monitoring your performance on behalf of your business and making keyword updates as necessary to ensure your ads are bringing in results.

Too Long; Didn’t Read

  • The way you use keyword targeting to reach potential customers is changing.
  • Google is confident these changes will fine-tune keyword targeting to better match user intent.
  • Don’t worry about updating your keyword strategy right away. Rather, you should wait and monitor your ads’ performance before changing anything.

Get an Advertising Partner to Handle Things for You

With Netsertive, you don’t have to stay on top of every new Google, Facebook, or Microsoft advertising platform update. We’ll take care of your advertising with your goals in mind, and check in every step of the way to make sure your business is setting new records in 2021 and beyond.

For more information about our multi-location advertising solution, schedule your free consultation today.

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