AdWords Match Types Best Practices: A Step-By-Step Guide

Google AdWords Match Types can be overwhelming.

If you have used the Google AdWords platform recently, you would have noticed an endless amount of options and settings that are available.

One of the greatest abilities of Google AdWords platform is the ability to choose how your ads are triggered when certain keywords are entered.

One might live with the assumption that Google only shows the ads for a particular keyword entered by you.

That assumption is wrong.

We all have to hands down agree on the fact that Google is smart.

It has the ability to quickly determine the keywords that are similar to your target keyword, making sure that they are not exact.

What does that mean?

This means that your AdWords ads will be displayed for a complete range of related keywords, not just the keyword you mentioned.

Therefore, understanding the different AdWords Match Types is crucial to turn any PPC campaign into a success.

What are AdWords Match Types?

As we mentioned above, the role AdWords match types play in a PPC Campaign is to control how certain keywords trigger your ads.

How if Google made you enter all the keywords that you want to show your ads for?

Will that not be very time-consuming and highly confusing at the same time?

It will clearly not be an efficient system to create PPC Ads.

Instead of all this, Google asks you to enter 1 primary keyword and what it will do is, it will find the similar keywords or related keywords against which the ads can be displayed.

To make the process even complicated and yet efficient, Google uses different algorithms to find the right keywords.

Yes, you guessed that right!

These are called AdWords Match Types and they have a huge role to play when running your PPC campaign.

When you go with keywords that are too broad, it can result in hundreds of keywords that are not relevant but your ads might show for them.Click To Tweet

This is something you don’t want to happen.

It’s because you won’t get enough returns out of your campaign.

But going with keywords that are too specific will not generate enough traffic and result in low conversion rate in general.

Okay. So now you understand the importance of AdWords Match Types.

How do AdWords Match Types relate to ROI?

Mat Bojerski from Hotleads explains,

“PPC Keyword match types help you mitigate possibilities of an unsuccessful campaign and discover valuable information about your target audience, which will allow you to craft better campaigns over time…Part of building a successful PPC campaign relies on the correlation of your target keywords with where your prospect is within their buying cycle. If these two pieces of information don’t match up, the conversion rate within your campaign is likely to be low. ”

Therefore finding the right Adwords Match Types is crucial for you.

It will help you maximize the clicks and eventually your profit margin.

Let’s go into understanding each AdWords Match Type and finally we will provide a summary of description that will help you achieve a clear understanding.

AdWords Keyword Match Types that you must consider in PPC Campaigns:

1. Phrase Match Keyword Type

The first AdWords Match Type we are going to discuss is the Phrase Match Keywords.

This is the match type that includes all the relevant keywords that include your main keyword in the same order.

For example, if your primary keyword is ‘Pet Care Supplies’ then you’ll notice that your ad being triggered by keywords that have the phrase ‘Pet Care Supplies’ in it.

Some of the phrase match examples are:

  • Pet Care Supplies near me
  • Best Pet Care Supplies
  • Cheap Pet Care Supplies

One thing that you would notice in all the above keyword phrases above is the use of the phrase ‘Pet Care Supplies’ either at the start or the end.

When you use this match type, you enable yourself to target lots of different and relevant long tail keywords that are related to the original keyword.

What is the benefit of using Phrase Match Keyword?

The most important benefits of using a Phrase Match Type is that these long tail keywords are incredibly cheap.

They have a low search volume and therefore the bidding cost is low.

But if you add hundreds of such similar keywords together, their search volume can go up significantly.

Certified Knowledge, a PPC marketing blog says,

“This (phrase match) is incredibly useful when the word order matters. Word order doesn’t always matter–but when it does, phrase match is an indispensable match type to employ to make sure you’re reaching the correct searchers.”

When you use phrase match type, you will observe an increase in traffic for a specific keyword of your choice, which help you utilize your ad budget for more relevant traffic.

This AdWords match type ensures that you get only quality traffic that has a higher chance of converting.

What is the disadvantage of using Phrase Match Type?

When using phrase match type in AdWords, there is no room for big interpretations that may be beneficial to reach users who use unconventional search terms when looking for a product that is similar to yours.

This means that you might lose conversions.

2. Exact Match Keyword Type

The second type of AdWords Match Types we are going to discuss is the Exact Match Keywords.

To be precise, these keywords match type will focus specifically on the keyword that you enter in the campaign.

There are times when you want your campaign to run in a way where you want the ads to show up for just one phrase without having hundreds of keywords trigger the ads.

In order to achieve this level of customization, you will have to use the Exact Match Type.

For example, if we try to show our ads for just one keyword phrase ‘Pet Care Supplies’as we used before, then this match type will trigger the ads for keywords that have the same meaning or close variations.

Some of those keywords are:

  • Pet Care Supplies
  • Supplies for Pet Care
  • Supplies of Pet Care

Now you would be thinking that all these keywords look almost the same.

Well, that’s the exact point of using Exact Match Type.

What are the benefits of using Exact Match Type?

When you use Exact Match Type, you are trying to target for just one keyword.

Thus exact match gives you the smallest range of keywords, but they are also very specific.

Exact Match Type works really well if you have a profitable keyword for which you want your ads to show up.

You don’t want to waste money on other irrelevant keywords.

Exact Match Type provides you with the highest relevance, but the lowest reach.

The traffic produced by the Exact Match keywords is highly targeted and have the highest percentage of converting.

SEMRush advises,

“If you want to increase the volume of traffic, you will have to add more keywords to your campaign. Still, the fact that the chances of conversion are highest means that even low traffic could boost your sales.”

What is the disadvantage of Exact Match Type?

One of the main problems of using an Exact Match type in AdWords is that the keywords are expensive.

You don’t get any keyword suggestions from search terms which narrows the possibility of your ad showing up for a relevant search term.

3. Broad Match Keywords

Next up we discuss the standard default match type of every Google AdWords campaign.

Broad Match Type allows the advertiser to show your ads for the broadest range of keywords ranging from misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and the other relevant variations.

To have the maximum reach on your adverts, you want to use this kind of AdWords match type.

Broad Match allows search engines to display ads for terms that are variations of the keyword in use.

To be precise, broad match is going to match your selected keywords with the broadest possible searches.

At this point it is important for you to note:

When using Broad Match, your ad will be displayed on what Google decides as a relevant variation, but at the same time, you might be losing a lot of money for Ad to be displayed on irrelevant variations of your keyword.

Some of the examples of Broad Match:

  • Pet Care Supplies for my dog
  • Latest Pet Care Supply for cats
  • Pet Care Discount Coupon

Here’s a question:

Do you think these related keywords convert on the same level as the keyword ‘Pet Care Supplies’?

For building a keyword list quickly and reach a maximum number of users, Broad Match type can be used.

Further Read: Common PPC Keyword Research Mistakes That You Need To Avoid

4. Broad Modifier Match Type (BMM)

As you can sense by the name, Broad Match Modifiers play the role of a middle ground between broad match type and other very limited match types.

Although this match type is relatively new in the world of PPC and AdWords, it has proven to be very useful.

Broad Match Modifier (BMM) match type has helped advertisers gain more control than broad match type.

Not just that, it also allowed the advertisers to have more freedom than what they had when they use phrase match.

So what exactly Broad Match Modifier does?

Broad Match Modifiers allow the advertiser to specifically mention certain keyword or search terms that must be included in order for their ads to be displayed.

How do you do that?

It’s simple.

All you have to do is add the ‘+’ sign in front of one or more words in the search terms to modify your broad match type keywords.

When using Broad Match Modifier, we highly recommend you to put the ‘+’ sign in front of the terms that you think most specifically define your product or service.

Your keyword will appear in a user’s search in any order.

What are the benefits of using Broad Match Modifier?

Broad Match Modifiers are similar to Broad Match types.

But these can provide the advertisers with more reach and visibility and advanced control over how your ad budget is spent.

When advertising on Google AdWords, broad match modifiers can be a safer option than broad matches and eventually provide a higher click-through rate.

This is because your Ads are not getting triggered on synonyms of your mentioned keywords or related searches.

That’s one reason why Broad Match Modifier match types have been so successful.

Another great reason why one should go for broad match modifier match type is that it helps advertisers to trigger their ad for a wide variety of searches which can further provide you with valuable keywords that you might not have considered before.

When you add the ‘+’ sign to your broad match keywords, the relevancy of the ad traffic will shoot up as this match type provides with better-targeted traffic.

What is the disadvantage of using Broad Modifier Match Type?

Have you heard about the phrase ‘give a little, take a little’?

Well, it certainly applies here.

With increasing relevancy of the traffic, broad modifier match type match type also cuts into your traffic volume.

An advertiser can expect to see decreases in impression volume, which might not be a right move.

5. Negative Keyword Match Types

Negative keyword match types are completely different from the rest of the AdWords match types we have discussed before.

These are the keywords advertisers use to tell AdWords for which search terms to not display the ads.

Doesn’t that feel

Well, it’s not.

The negative keyword type is very useful.

Let’s take a product for example.

Maybe you want to show the ads for keywords that include certain words that do match what you have to offer.

But maybe, just maybe, you don’t want to show up for certain keywords.

Depending on your AdWords match type, your product Ad might show up for search terms which you don’t want.

On the searcher’s POV, if there’s a user searching for ‘free apps’ and clicks on your ad only to find out that your app costs money that will be a waste of ad budget.

There will be no conversion and you will lose your PPC budget.

If you don’t want to show for certain search terms, you can tell the terms to Google and it will exclude them from the results.

When negative keyword types are used the right way, these can save you a lot of money from irrelevant ad clicks.

There you go!

We have explained every AdWords Match Type to you.

But is this basic knowledge enough to run a successful PPC campaign?

We decided to go one step further and provide you with more value.

We have compiled the 5 best ways to optimally use the AdWords Match Types to ensure a successful AdWords campaign.

5 AdWords Match Type Best Practices for a successful Campaign:

Tip #1: Use multiple Adwords Match Types of your Keywords

Work Smart.

Do that especially when it comes to AdWords and PPC Campaigns.

There are so many changes and optimizations that you can perform that if you don’t prioritize your time and work accordingly on areas that produce the biggest returns, you will always be one step behind.

One of the most common issues occurred in an account is that only one AdWords match type is being used.

Most probably, it is a broad match.

When you are using just broad match type, you are setting your campaign to waste money.

If you are using a phrase or exact match you might be limiting your ads reach but get qualified leads and clicks.

Further Read: How To Clean Up PPC Campaign Keywords

Tip #2: Use different Adwords match types of the same keyword

As we read above, we come to the conclusion that every match type has its own purpose.

Therefore, it makes sense to have multiple match types of the same keyword.

Match types like Broad and Broad Modifier help with extensive keyword research and you can increase your bid on a phrase of exact matches because the user/searcher is looking for what you have to offer.

Tip #3: No need to combine AdWords match types or use Capitalization

Although you can have different match types of the same keyword, you can’t combine AdWords match types together.

For example, you can’t have the keyword +chicago “bike shops”.

Remember though, with a modified broad match you don’t have to put a plus sign in front of each word.

You don’t need to have both ‘Chicago bike shop’ and ‘chicago bike shop’ in your account.

They are the same keyword, even for exact matches without close variants.

Tip #4: Include Spacing and Punctuation in Close Variants

If you choose to include close variants, spacing doesn’t matter.

If you have the keyword [bike shops] it will match the search term bike shops.

This also applied to punctuation.

If you are bidding on “mikes bike shop” and someone types in mike’s bike shop, they will match.

Tip #5: When using Broad Match, use discretion

Keywords entered without additional symbols will default to broad and while they will get you the most traffic, they can also waste money on clicks that aren’t relevant to the service you provide.

Use plain broad match sparingly in accounts and tend to favor modified broad instead.

Further Reading:

Complete Guide On How To Use Keywords in PPC- Part 1

Complete Guide On How To Use Keywords in PPC- Part 2


Running PPC Campaigns is not a child’s play.

Businesses should realize that choosing a PPC keyword match type is an important aspect of AdWords strategy.

It is important to know which AdWords match type is working for your campaigns and which is not and then optimizing the campaigns accordingly.Click To Tweet

Now that you know the pros and cons of each AdWords Match Type, here are the key points one should consider for each match type:

  • Your match type determines how narrow or broad a search query will match to a keyword in your AdWords Account.
  • Broad AdWords Match Type is the default match type on AdWords. The audience for this match type is not very targeted and will have a small chance of converting.
  • Broad Match Modifiers allows advertisers to specify the certain keywords that must be included to display your ad.
  • Phrase Match type triggers your ads when a user searches for your keyword in the correct order.
  • Exact AdWord match type will help you show your ads to users who search for the exact keyword.

We hope we brought great value to you through this informative blog post about AdWords Match Types.

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Dhananjay is a Content Marketeer who presses on providing value upfront. Here at Ads Triangle, he’s responsible to generate content that provides traction. Being a Workaholic and 24/7 Hustler that he is, you’ll always see him busy engaging with prospects. For him, content that solves problems is an undeniable variable for long-term growth. And yes, Roger Federer is the Greatest Of All Time!

Original article published here

Categories: Digital MarketingPPC Marketing
Tags: AdWordsPay per ClickPPC
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