Google Ads: Broad Match Modifier to be phased out

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Google Ads: Broad Match Modifier to be phased out

Google has announced today that it will begin to phase out the broad match modifier match and expand phrase match. Google’s announcement says:

At the heart of Google Ads is our ability to connect businesses with the people who are looking for what they have to offer. Whether they’re searching for “takeout restaurants”—which have grown more than 5,000% year over year—or something Google has never seen before—which makes up 15% of queries every day2—people expect to find the products and services they’re looking for.

Over the years, we’ve improved our understanding of intent to make it easier for you to reach your customers. For example, your keywords can now match to the meaning of a search, and broad match is now more effective at driving performance–especially when paired with Smart Bidding. With these improvements, we’ve seen that phrase match and broad match modifier often serve the same use cases, and that you can reach more of the right customers through a combination of the two.

What does this mean?

Broad Match Modifier and Phrase Match have a lot of cross-over these days and tend to cover many of the same terms. This change will streamline campaigns and make them a little more manageable but there will be cases where broad match modifier would attract search terms that phrase match wouldn’t so this needs to be considered by adding additional keywords.

Here’s an example from Google on how the new Phrase Match type will work:


When will this happen?

From mid February, phrase match and broad match modified match types will transition to the new matching behaviour, by July, you won’t be able to create broad match modified match types again. Existing broad match modifiers will continue to function but will behave in the new way.

You don’t have too but remember, if you CHANGE your keywords from broad match to phrase match, you’ll wipe out ALL of your historic data – and that could be seriously problematic for established accounts.

Should I do anything?

Google have said the following:

This can lead to an increase in traffic on any phrase match keywords and a slight decrease in traffic on any BMM keywords.

The best way forward is to leave existing BMM keywords as they are, but, to avoid any potential traffic loss, you’ll need to then create new phrase match variants and pause the old BMM terms so you keep your data so you can refer to it if needed later.