Quick Guide on How To Use Updated Google Ads Phrase Match

With an estimated 5.6 billion daily Google searches, Google Ads is the primary pay-per-click, or PPC, ad network available. 

Google Ads uses a PPC model for ads that appear on its search engine results. In other words, advertisers pay Google when their ads receive clicks. 

But first, you have to tell Google when to show your ads.

Your keyword selection and match type decide that. That’s why using keywords effectively is the key to running a successful PPC campaign on Google Ads. 

By July of 2021, Google will update phrase match to include characteristics of the broad match modifier — your ads will also appear if the search query has keywords in a different order but shares the search intent.

Keep on reading to learn:

Understanding Google Ads’ Current Keyword Matching

Google Update Combines Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier

Tips for Using Google’s New Phrase Match

Final Thoughts: How To Use New Google Phrase Match in Your PPC Campaigns

Understanding Google Ads’ Current Keyword Matching

While creating a campaign on Google Ads before July 2021, you choose keywords you want to bid on and select a keyword matching algorithm, which tells Google how to compare a search query to your keyword. 

You can find the following types of keyword matches while using Google Ads:

  • Exact match: Your ad appears on queries that exactly match the keyword.
  • Phrase match: Your ad appears on queries that include your keyword in the same order, but the queries can contain words before and after the keyword.
  • Broad match: Your ad appears on queries with the same meaning as your keyword, even if a query lacks your exact keyword.
  • Broad match modifier (BMM): Your ad appears on queries that include at least one of your exact keyword terms. You enable BMM by typing a “+” before your keywords.

For example, let’s try the reusable water bottle keyword and see which search query will trigger an ad for each match type. 

Search queryExact matchPhrase matchBroad matchBMM
Reusable water bottleYesYesYesYes
Best reusable water bottleNoYesYesYes
Water bottle reusableNoNoYesYes
Reusable coffee cupNoNoNoYes

Google Update Combines Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier

Google hopes to simplify Google Ads’ user experience by integrating the broad match modifier with the phrase match. 

How will this affect your PPC campaigns?

The new phrase match will lie somewhere between the current phrase match and the broad match modifier. 

Infographic showing the changes to phrase match keywords and broad match modifier in Google Ads

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Once the change occurs, updated phrase match keywords will replace the broad match modifiers used in the active campaigns. These phrase match keywords will be more flexible when it comes to letting word order trigger an ad. 

Also, phrase match will respect word order when it affects the meaning of the keyword. 

For example, if your keyword is flights from Dallas to Chicago, phrase match will not show your ad when someone searches flights from Chicago to Dallas

However, the new phrase match would trigger your ad for a query like Dallas to Chicago one-way flights.

Tips for Using Google’s New Phrase Match 

By July 2021, phrase match will absorb the functionality of the broad match modifier.

This change means that you should revisit your keywords and see if they’ll work under the new rules. 

Average CPC may change for phrase match keywords as it absorbs the broad match modifier

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Here’re some of the guidelines to ensure that you reach your desired audience without denting your budget:

  • Avoid broad match modifiers while creating new campaigns.
  • Use negative keywords — which exclude unwanted search queries — to only reach out to your desired audience. 
  • Look at Google’s list of recommended keywords to see if you need to fill a gap left out by this update, as updated phrase matching is more restrictive than legacy BMM.
  • Experiment with Smart Bidding paired with broad match keywords.

As this update drops, keyword demand will shift depending upon how individual keywords perform. To prevent a mishap, review your budget limits and adjust them accordingly if the cost-per-click price of any of your phrase match keywords increases.

Final Thoughts: How To Use New Google Phrase Match in Your PPC Campaigns

Google is an integral channel for both organic and paid traffic. However, as it continues to update algorithms to focus on search intent instead of the keyword itself, you need to be aware of the changes.
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Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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