Google Ads: the new phrase match

What is the impact of Google's updates to phrase match?

Google has updated its match types, affecting how phrase and broad match work.

It appears this change is essentially a rebranding of phrase match to incorporate BMM and a result will not have a huge impact on performance.

Phrase match has long been the Cinderella of match types, with many advertisers eschewing it for a combination of exact match and BMM/broad match. This is bourne out in our own research of advertisers running on the platform with a mere 2.4 per cent of spend across our customers using this match type.

If you’re using BMM without phrase match, you may see a slight decrease in impressions as Google aims to stop triggering eligible queries which do not reflect the keyword meaning – leaving you with a more targeted version of BMM which can only be a good thing. If you’re using phrase match as part of your current strategy, you’ll likely see an increase in impressions as a result of the changes.

Negative keywords are unaffected, so we still have all the control we have always had and remember, match types on negatives work differently from how they do on keywords.

Another interesting development worth a mention is that Google will match to an exact match keyword if it’s identical to the search query, regardless of bid or ad copy. This is great news as it should help prevent misrouting between other match types and exact match – which has plagued many advertising accounts. There are caveats like the keywords much have identical targeting and not be budget constrained or low search volume.

In terms of the migration, Google will be releasing tools throughout the year to help convert your BMM keywords to phrase match as well as remove duplicates between match types. Let us know if you think there is anything we can do to help.