Understanding Match Types In Google Ad

Team member - Daniel Hales By Daniel Hales |
Published 26/04/2021

If you’re new to Google Ads and looking to set up your first campaign it may be confusing what different match types actually do. When Google Ads first launched it was straight forward with the match types doing what they said, but with the most recent update this is always the case, with the different match types being more open than ever before.

In this post we look at the different match types, why you might want to use certain ones over others and how to set up your campaigns to use multiple match types.

What Are Match Types?

Match types are rules related to your keyword which will be used to determine whether an ad is shown for a search or not. There are three types of match types currently available: Exact, Phrase and Broad.

Exact Match

Exact match is the most closed match type, meaning it will trigger the least amount of impressions of the three match types. When first created Exact Match meant that the keyword had to exactly match the search term being used. Google has changed this over time and Exact Match now includes close variants such as plurals, misspellings as well as some synonyms.

Exact Match keywords are useful to use for high volume and high converting keywords. This allows you to have more control over the bids for these keywords. This means that you can increase bids of high performing keywords without worrying about the other variants which would also be increased if other match types were used. You can also decrease the bids of certain keywords with high spend and low conversions where it

Exact Match keywords are represented in Google Ads by square brackets [ ].

Phrase Match

Phrase Match initially meant that the exact phrase had to be in the search term, with additional words either side of the Phrase Match keyword still allowing the ad to show. Phrase Match is the latest match type to be updated, being announced in February 2021, in which it was merged with Broad Match Modifier. (Broad Match Modifier is no longer available after this update) This updates mean that ads will now show where Google believes the meaning in the keyword and search term are the same.

Phrase Match is good to use when you want to increase the amount of relevant searches your ads are showing for. In most cases we use a mixture of exact and phrase match in our campaigns which gives us a good mixture of control whilst not limiting the campaign too much.

Phase Match keywords are represented in Google Ads by double quotation marks “ “.

Broad Match

Broad Match is the most open match type and will show your ads whenever your keywords are in a search. The order of these keywords doesn’t matter so you need to be careful in how the meaning can change along this the ordering of the words.

We use Broad Match when there’s additional budget to be used in the campaign. Broad Match allows us to get in front of more long tail searches which then allows us to use this to expand on both Exact and Phrase match keywords in key areas.

Broad Match keywords are shown in Google Ads as just the keyword with no brackets or quotation marks.

Setting Up For Multiple Match Types

In most cases you’ll want to use multiple match types in order to get the benefits of each match type. In order to do this we would recommend having the following set up in order to maintain control and ensure that the right match types are used at the right time.

We want the most closed match type to show as often as possible as this gives us the most control. We therefore want Exact Match to be the first choice of match type and should be used whenever possible. After this Phrase Match should be used if the search term is relevant for Exact Match. And finally Broad Match should be used if neither of these are relevant.

Exact Match >> Phrase Match >> Broad Match

You also want to make sure that you’re using more closed types than your more open ones so you should have the following match types of each keyword:

  • Only Exact
  • Exact and Phrase
  • Exact, Phrase and Broad

So there should be no instances where you only have a keyword as Broad Match.

The easiest way to manage these is to have separate ad groups for each keyword and this will allow you to add the necessary negative keywords. It’s important to add these negative keywords to ensure that the right match type is used. In Phrase Match ad groups you need to make sure that Negative Exact versions of the keyword are added and in Broad Match Ad Groups the Negative Phrase versions are added.

You should now have an idea of what the different match types are and how you can set up your account in order to utilise the different benefits of each. If you’re struggling with the setup we offer Google Ads Management and would be more than happy to help you with the setup.

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