Google Ads Announces Important Changes to Keywords

5th February 2021

Google Ads have announced important upcoming changes to their phrase and broad match modified keywords, coming into effect from the 18th of February.

Yesterday, the Google Ads team announced changes to both the phrase and broad match modifier (BMM) keyword types. For those that aren't aware, phrase match keywords will currently only trigger when the exact keyword phrase is searched (or close variations with other words before or after that phrase also included). Broad match modified keywords are the same as broad match keywords in the way that they match for keyword variants that aren't as close or in the correct order, however, BMM doesn't include synonyms and uses additional keyword modifiers to narrow matches.

What's changing?

From the 18th February 2021, phrase and broad match modified keywords will match for the same searches, meaning phrase match keywords will receive more traffic and broad match modified keywords will begin to receive less. This all seems to be very confusing which clearly resonates with Google themselves as they have also announced the broad match modified keywords will be removed and fully replaced by phrase match keywords.

Google ads broad match modifier phrase match update

Why is it changing?

Google is always looking to refine its understanding of intent to make it easier for businesses to reach out to customers. Recently, they discovered that phrase match and broad match modifiers quite often overlap and more customers can in fact be reached with a combination of the two. This is their reasoning behind merging the two keyword types together to make things much simpler. 

How will this affect my campaign?

Google claims that despite broad match modified keywords being removed, no action needs to be taken as these keyword types will simply start serving under the new behavior in place. You will no longer be able to use broad match modifiers from July onwards and should use phrase match instead.

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