Google Ads Phrase Match Expands To Cover Broad Match Modifier Traffic

Feb 5, 2021 - 7:51 am 4 by
Filed Under Google Ads

Google Ads Expands

Google is making some changes to its match types again, this time phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic. However, Google said this will continue "to respect word order when it's important to the meaning." This change will start rolling out over the next two weeks.

Google explained "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."

Here is how it visually looks (click to enlarge):

click for full size

Here are some examples Google provided:

Google Phrase Match Broad Match Ss

I asked the PPC community about their early reactions to this and it is somewhat mixed but still an overall negative to having less control. Google has historically made changes to match types where they would expand the keyword set above and beyond what advertisers wanted. Here is some history on that:

Here is some of the reaction from the industry:

I also recommend you read the responses to Google posting about this on Twitter - click over and read the responses.

A WebmasterWorld thread is not too optimistic about these changes, here are some quotes:

Google is going to make Phrase match worse for most of us and of course spin it like we are getting a new feature. Good for shareholders, bad for advertisers.

You may want to audit your accounts and keep an even more watchful eye on your search queries and negative list.

When they combine them, and they work the same, the new functionality is not Phrase or Mod Broad, it's in between, it's actually closer to BMM. It's confusing that they will call it Phrase Match still.

I suggest Phrase + Broad = Phr + oad = Phroad. Oops, wait... :-)

Just got this email. Really what this means is Google can just leach more money from your account whenever they feel like it. You could watch your negative list, but from my experience Google can attach the most absurd and irrelevant keywords to any broad match keyword, so you are infinitely adding negative keywords, and they are infinitely making money from irrelevant searches.

At some point in the future this house of cards will come tumbling down. My hope is for contagion of the Australian affair regarding search. Google will be hurting at the moment, even with the changes to GA4 they are basically saying "we're going to guess that our campaigns are delivering value and you, Digital Agencies, need to go and sell that to your clients".

Google added a lot more detail on what is changing in this help document, so it is a must read for anyone using Google Ads.

Forum discussion at Twitter & WebmasterWorld.


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