Yesterday, 4th Feb 2021, Google announced a shake-up to keyword match type definitions; the Broad Match Modified keyword type will be phased out.

Transition begins in a couple of weeks, mid-February, with a full rollout globally, by July this year.

Over the years, we’ve experienced Google taking away the “control” that match types once used to offer advertisers, but always in exchange for a promise of better automation and targeting. This update is no different, we keep the faith in Google’s AI.. (and are kick-starting our own solutions through Push’s own AdInvestor tech tool, of course!)

More on the Merge

Starting in 2 weeks, Google will begin to serve both Phrase & BMM (Broad Match Modifier) keywords using the updated Phrase Match behaviour. They believe that advertisers already using Phrase Match are potentially missing relevant queries, whilst advertisers using BMM are potentially reaching irrelevant queries.

“With these improvements, you can reach the searches you want just by using phrase match—without worrying about the searches you don’t want”

So, what do we think?

  • The change may save time for some advertisers, but others could face a huge amount of time recalibrating campaigns.
  • Expect to potentially see traffic fluctuate as these changes roll-out, keep an eye on  key metrics more so than ever, examine SQR’s in more detail, and, of course, continuing to add negatives to filter out any irrelevant queries
  • We’ll need to become used to not having BMM (Broad Match Modifier), and create new keywords in the updated version of Phrase Match moving forward

But wait, there’s more…

What may be more exciting to some as part of the same announcement, is the rollout of the more refined Exact Match. An Exact Match keyword that is identical to the searched keyword will always take priority, as long as it’s eligible to match. We hear all PPC’ers cheering. No longer will we have to build as extensive negatives to alleviate exact match anomalies.

This change may be more minimal, but it’s recommended to still keep a close eye on Exact Match traffic too, to understand the uplifts and adjust your strategy accordingly.

To Conclude

There have been many changes in the way we control search queries that our adverts appear for, in parallel to an ever-increasing automated approach. We predict a lot more AI-led changes to come, whilst Google moves towards a more persona-driven push for advertisers to focus on. More info can be found in Google’s announcement here.



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