Google Announce the Phasing Out of Broad Match Modified Keywords

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Do you use Broad Match Modified keywords in your ads accounts? These are soon to be a thing of the past. Sarah Clarke runs through Google’s latest announcement.


Google has been making some big announcements recently, including eliminating third-party cookies, but another came last night in the form of match-type announcements. Yesterday, Google released an article outlining the changes being made to both phrase and broad-match modified (BMM) keywords.


What are Google changing?

There have always been the three main match types: Exact, Phrase and Broad. After making changes most recently around the match types in regards to close variants, there’s no surprise that Google are looking to simplify this process further. As it currently stands, many advertisers use exact match keywords for control and broad match for volume, with phrase sitting in the middle as a balance of the two.

The recent announcement changes not only the Phrase and BMM match types, but also their interaction. Essentially, Google are combining the BMM match type with Phrase. This means that any current Phrase match keywords will start to reach traditional BMM traffic, whilst still following the rule of matching the keyword to the search term when the words are in a specific order.


What does this mean for accounts?

Essentially, this means that Phrase match will now be taking the place of BMM, with the changes to its matching capabilities letting it reach the searches that were traditionally covered by BMM. Google has said that the aim is to streamline keyword management and ultimately save time, as these two match types should then cover the majority of searches that most advertisers would like to show for.

It does mean that if you are using Phrase and BMM, you’ll start to see slightly less traffic coming through your BMM keywords from mid-February and slightly more traffic coming through your Phrase keywords.


How will this affect me?

Initially, the changes are being rolled out slowly, over a number of months, so no immediate action needs to be taken. All performance data will remain and there’s no need to switch over to the new match type right away.

However, if you are currently running BMM keywords, although these will remain in accounts for now, as of July, you will no longer be able to create new BMM keywords. This means that any additional broader match keywords will need to be added either as Phrase or Broad, depending on the approach you’d like to take.


What do I recommend?

Here at Clickthrough Marketing, we’ve always taken the best practice approach of using Exact and BMM match types, so the majority of our PPC accounts are set-up in this way.

Considering the announcement that BMM keywords will be removed, we’ll be updating our accounts to be Exact and Phrase, in-line with both the recommendation from Google and the efficiency focused approach we use to manage all of our accounts.

If you are currently using BMM, it makes sense to migrate these over to Phrase over the next few months, not only so your account can continue to grow as you add additional Phrase keywords, but so that the simplification of match types provides additional time to focus on wider objectives and strategy within accounts.

If you are going to make this change, you will need to keep a close eye on performance and be ready to optimise and switch budgets differently if necessary, based on the traffic levels coming through each of the match types after the changes. The update itself doesn’t impact negative keywords, however, as you update to a new match type, this may require changes to your negative keywords in order to still have a high level of control over search matching. It will also be important to keep an eye on your search terms report, to assess how the changes are having an impact and those additional keywords you might want to add to continue to grow your account.


If you’re concerned about how the announcement will impact your Google Ads strategy, why not reach out to our experts to discuss your options? Our Paid Search deep dive will provide bespoke insight into how your strategy will face up to all upcoming Google updates.

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