Changes Coming to Google Ads Match Types: What It Means for Advertisers

Feb 26, 2021

Over the next several months, Google will be rolling out changes to how ads appear in response to search terms across its platform. This will come in the form of updates to the keyword phrase match and broad match modifiers.

The aim of the update is to give advertisers the best of both worlds – more control (as they are used to with phrase match) and better reach (as they are used to with broad match). The change should allow advertisers to reach their target audiences more easily, reducing the number of irrelevant clicks (and dollars spent) resulting from the previous limitations of broad match.

How Phrase Match Will Change

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.

The Google diagram below shows an example of the before and after effects of this change.


You can see additional examples of the new logic being implemented in the table below.

Broad match modifier keyword Queries that will no longer match after the update
+resume +services what are some customer service skills to put on a resume
+best +sneakers best prices on sneakers for toddler
+used +printers companies that used daisy wheel printers


Phrase match keyword Queries that will match after the update
"holidays in zambia" holiday spots in zambia
"long sleeve dress" long sleeve lace dress
"womens boots" new womens size 37 boots


What do I need to do with an active AdWords account?

According to Google, the transition to the new matching behavior will began this month without any need for immediate action. By July, the ability to create new “broad match” keywords will be removed from the system as the transition to the new matching behavior is complete.

If you haven’t checked in on your keyword performance lately, now is the time to review your account, as these changes may lead to some traffic fluctuation, and account adjustments may be required.

Request a No-Risk AdWords Assessment

Interested in learning more about which keywords may be a good fit for a Google Ads campaign for your business? Simply request our Ads Assessment and we’ll be in touch with a report that helps you decide if an Google Ads campaign is a good fit for your business and your budget.

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