The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Match Types for Enhancing your PPC Campaigns

An integral part to any online advertising campaign, keywords play such an important role in triggering profitable results. But it’s knowing how best to utilise these tools that can help PPC managers to boost the overall success of their campaigns.

An integral part to any online advertising campaign, keywords play such an important role in triggering profitable results.

But it’s knowing how best to utilise these tools that can help PPC managers to boost the overall success of their campaigns.

To help you make the most of your campaigns and ensure you’re capitalising on the 40,000 search queries that are made every second, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on keyword match types to help you enhance your PPC campaigns.

Google AdWords keyword match types

Keyword match types are in place to examine exactly how accurate and relevant the keyword is to the users search query and then determining if it qualifies for an online auction.

For Google Ads, there are five major keyword match types you should be aware of. We have also included some keyword match type examples so you can see how they look in practice:

Broad match

Broad match keywords allow you to have the widest reach as possible which can be beneficial for driving larger amounts of traffic to your website. However, your results will not be as refined and so, random users may find and interact with your ad.

For example, your broad match keyword may be “hats”. In a Google search result, your ad may show for any searches containing this word, such as “summer hats”.

Modified broad match

Although resulting in a smaller reach, modified broad match keywords allow you to gain more control over your searches and relevancy which can result in more qualified traffic interacting with your ads.

For example, your broad match keyword may look like “+red+shoes” and could return results for all red shoes, but not another colour.

Phrase match

Phrase match keywords are somewhat of a middle ground – they allow for greater focus than broad match keywords but less than exact match. For phrase match keywords, you can add additional keywords before and after the keyword but not in the middle.

Phrase match keywords must be contained in quotation marks, for example, “white pyjamas”, and your ad will show for search results such as “white pyjamas for women”.

In May 2021, it was announced that Google would expand phrase match to also include broad match modifiers.

Additionally, in June 2021, Google announced that broad match modifier keywords will have the same updated phrase matching behaviour for all languages, and that ads will be shown on searches that include the meaning of your keyword.

Exact match

The opposite of broad match keywords, exact match keywords are based on exact search queries and terms down to the finer details. Essentially, the search query must exactly match your keyword for the search engine to show your ad. As such, this is one of the hardest keyword match types to perfect.

Exact match keywords are written within brackets, such as [shoes for men]. This will only show ads for this keyword or close variants, such as slight misspellings.

Negative match

This is used to increase the relevance of the website visitors by excluding your ads from showing on search results you don’t want. This can help to save you money that would be otherwise been spent on irrelevant ad clicks.

For example, if you want your ad to appear for searches relating to “new laptops” your negative keyword will be “refurbished laptops” or “second hand laptops” to exclude these unwanted searches.

All PPC managers should be aware of the constantly changing definitions of match types which, over the years, have made each match type broader.

For example, in 2019, it was discovered that exact and phrase match keywords included more variations than two years prior.

Does word order matter in Google search?

On the topic of keywords, many advertisers are still unsure of the impact of word order for their keywords.

To confirm, word order does matter when users are searching for certain words. For example, search results for “blue sky” may differ from results for “sky blue”. This should be taken into consideration when reviewing and determining your search terms and match types.

How do match types impact your search ad results?

Ultimately, match type keywords have a major impact on your PPC campaigns, as they can directly control exactly which search queries you’re bidding on.

When determining which match type to use for each keyword, you should consider the following points:

  • Competitors – it’s important to review what your competitors are bidding on and how they are bidding. The way in which they bid on certain terms and structure their own accounts can directly impact your own campaigns and ROI.
  • Ad text and account structure – a common practice for advertisers is to use one “money” keyword across all broad, phrase and exact match type campaigns and then further segment those match types and then write specific ads for each.
  • Performance to date – how a particular keyword has performed can give you insights into the best match type to use for your campaign that will give you the best ROI.
  • Bids – cost per click and cost per conversion are impacted by bids and advertisers try to find ways to manipulate these bids and will bid more or less based on the match type. Naturally, this influences which match type is most appropriate.

To help you determine which match type is best for your specific campaign you can conduct AB testing. By conducting this activity, you can find out exactly which keywords and match type are going to be the most lucrative and successful for your campaigns.

Are you interested in improving your PPC campaigns by utilising keyword match types?

Optimising your Google ads match types is a critical exercise for allowing you to reach your target audience, improving your marketing ROI and ultimately, saving you money by avoiding unnecessary spend on ad clicks that are irrelevant.

To find out more about how you can best utilise keyword match types optimise and improve your PPC campaigns, get in touch with the team of PPC specialists at Diginius today.  

Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.  

At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.