How To Know What Keyword Match Type To Use

Why Does Keyword Match Type Matter?

When it comes to the success of your ad campaign, using the proper keyword match type may play a much larger role than you’d think. After you’ve spent hours, or maybe even days, setting up that perfect ad campaign that is going to shatter your quarterly goals, all that’s left to do is to get your ad in front of your audience. So how do you make sure the right people see your ad? That is where having the right keyword match type comes in!

man using a laptop and typing with fingers

Keyword Match Types

So what are your options when it comes to selecting a keyword match type to further target your desired audience? There are four types of keyword matches to choose from that can each serve a different purpose based on the level of targeting you desire for your keywords. These keyword match types are:

  • Broad Match
  • Modified Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

Each of these keyword match types gives you the ability to choose how easy you want your ad to be accessible on Google’s search results page. But wait, don’t you want your ad to be seen by as many people as possible? Well yes and no.

Typically the goal of your ad would be to not only drive traffic to your site but also have them complete a specific action, known as a conversion, such as making a purchase if you’re running an ecommerce site. Since running ads on Google costs you money every time a user clicks on your ad, you really only want people clicking on your ad who have the highest chance of converting.

Selecting the right keyword match type can make all the difference in your ad campaign by controlling who sees and clicks on your ad. Implementing the optimal keyword match type can drive higher conversion rates while saving you money by deterring unwanted traffic from clicking on your ad. Below you’ll discover the pros and cons of each keyword match type, along with best-case scenarios of when to use them.

Businessman holding tablet and showing a growing virtual hologram of statistics, graph and chart with arrow up on dark background.

Broad Match

The first keyword match type that you may be considering for your ad campaign is a broad match. Broad match is the most general match type and is also the typical default setting when using Google AdWords. Broad match is the best way to have your ad be seen by as many people as possible. So how does it work?

Let’s say you’re a company that sells shoes. In your ad, you may want to target the keywords “blue running shoes”. With a broad match, Google can match your ad to any one or more of these keywords listed in the search query, and in any order. This means that Google could match your ad with someone who only searched for the word “shoes” in their query. 
When should you use broad match:

  • When you want your ad to be seen by as many people as possible
  • The goal of your ad campaign is to drive brand awareness through a high volume of impressions

When should you NOT use broad match:

  • You wish to target a more specific audience
    • Ex. If you are selling running shoes and someone types “shoes” in the search box with the intent to purchase dress shoes for work, your ad won’t be relevant

Modified Broad Match

This keyword match type is similar to the previous example, with the exception of some additional refining for how often your ad appears. Modified broad match allows you to have a similar reach and ad impression as broad match, but without a large number of irrelevant searches. 

A modified broad match tells Google that every keyword that you are targeting needs to be included in the user’s search query. However, the order in which they are present does not matter. So let’s go back to our previous example to see how this works.

If you target the keywords “blue running shoes”, all three of these words need to be included in the user’s search query for your ad to appear. The searcher can have these keywords in any order, and the search query may also include any combination of other words.
When should you use modified broad match:

  • You wish to reach a large variety of searches, where any combination of your keywords will be relevant to users searching for those terms.

When should you NOT use modified broad match:

  • When you are unsure if certain variations of your keywords could result in a large number of irrelevant searches

Phrase Match

Phrase match helps you to get even more specific with the types of searches your ad will show up for. Similar to a modified broad match, phrase match helps your ad show up for a specific set of keywords but allows the user to still have additional words or phrases in the search query. 

Let’s go back to our example. If you are still targeting the keywords “blue running shoes” with a phrase match, your ad will be shown when a user searches for this exact phrase or a close variation of the phrase. The search may also contain any other words or phrases before or after your keyword phrase.

So with this example, your ad may be shown if a user searches for “blue running shoes for men”, “comfortable blue running shoes with memory foam sole”, or “light blue running shoes”. As you can see, there are still a large number of search variations where your ad could appear for this type of keyword match. Phrase match can help to limit the number of irrelevant searches while still offering some flexibility when it comes to how the user types their search query.

When you should use phrase match:

  • You wish to refine your ad appearance to queries including a certain phrase
  • You want a smaller traffic volume, but with more relevant searches

When you should NOT use phrase match:

  • You do not know your audience well enough yet to define your ad to a certain phrase
  • You are seeking quantity over quality with your ad campaign to establish general brand awareness

Exact Match

The exact match type is exactly what it sounds like. With this type of keyword match type, your ad will only show up when a user types in the exact keyword phrase that you are targeting, nothing more, nothing less. This is the most popular type of keyword match type because if implemented properly, it can yield the best results. When you use an exact match, you know that all of your searches are relevant so long as you use the right keyword phrase.

Let’s do one more example scenario using the running shoes. If you are targeting the phrase “blue running shoes” for your ad, the only way your ad will be shown is if a user types “blue running shoes” into the search query. As you can see, this leaves no room for user variations of your keywords. However, because exact matches are the most specifically targeted, they are often the most relevant and usually result in the highest click-through rate.

When should I use exact match:

  • The audience that you want to target with your ad is clearly defined
  • You only want your ad shown to those who type in your exact keyword phrase
  • You want your ad to bring fewer, but higher-quality clicks to your site

When should I NOT use exact match:

  • You want people searching for your phrase to be able to use variations of your keywords in their query
  • Your goal for your ad is to achieve higher brand awareness and drive a larger quantity of traffic to your site

Drive Success With Your Keyword Match Type

As you can see, selecting the proper keyword match type for your PPC ad campaign can make all the difference in the outcome of your ad performance. Each one serves a specific purpose in achieving the desired results for your ad. If you’re looking to grow your online presence and increase revenue through online advertising, check out WebFX PPC Management Services. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *