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Google Ads Keyword Match Types Explained

June 9, 2021
Digital Marketing
by The Web Guys
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Google Ads Keyword Match Types Explained

What’s the easiest way to spend a small fortune? Put it on Google Ads without the correct match type selection for your keywords. The reason this is particularly heartbreaking is because you can do a lot of things right, from creating fantastic ad copy to selecting excellent keywords, and things can still go wrong because of your match type selection.

If you have a digital marketing agency (we know a really good one in Auckland) that runs your Google Ads campaign, they will usually optimise match type selection. On the other hand, if you are doing it yourself, here are some things you need to know.

What Are Match Types in Google Ads?

There is a huge number of search phrases that people use when looking for products or services on the internet. One of the main aims when setting up and managing a Google Ads campaign is to select keywords that match as many searches for your products or services as possible. Anticipating everything that a user might enter into the Google search bar is not easy, however. Plus, there are different reasons for running Google Ads campaigns with different goals and objectives.

Google’s solution is Match Types. Match types give you an element of control over how widely Google should throw the net when it decides whether to show your ads.

There are three keyword match types:

  • Broad match
  • Phrase match
  • Exact match

Broad Match

As the name suggests, this match type applies the keywords you have selected to the broadest range of searches. This includes searches that contain your keyword and similar words, as well as searches that do not feature your keyword, but Google believes there is a connection. 

Google offers very limited information on how it makes these connections between search terms and the broad match keywords in your Google Ads campaign. It uses other keywords in your list, for example, as well as your landing page (the page people land on when they click on one of your ads). These other sources of information help Google understand what you offer and how it might help a particular user.

According to Google, it also uses the recent search activity of users.

In summary, broad match is the match type selection that delivers the widest possible reach but with the lowest level of targeting.

Phrase Match

Using phrase match lets you narrow the number of search phrases where your ads will appear. The aim is to make your advertising more targeted. So, instead of Google showing your ad to a very wide range of related keywords, it will match search terms with the phrase you have set. For example, “heat pump replacement” could be the phrase that you use. However, your ad may appear on searches for “heat pump replacement prices” and other searches that use the phrase within a longer search phrase.

Exact Match

Exact match narrows the applicable search phrases even further. The name suggests that Google will only show your ads on searches that exactly match the keyword you have selected. Things aren’t that straightforward, unfortunately, as your ads can also appear on searches that use closely related keywords. Examples include plurals, synonyms, incorrectly spelled words, and phrases with words in a different order.

Making the Right Selection

Choosing a match type depends on your objectives. There are two main points to remember. The first is that you can use different match types with different keywords within the same campaign.

The second is that no matter which option you choose, you won’t be able to launch and forget. Google Ads campaigns need to be regularly monitored and updated, not least in relation to the Match Types you choose and how those selections impact the performance of your campaign.

The Web Guys is an Auckland-based digital agency specialising in Google Ads and SEO, and has worked with hundreds of clients both in New Zealand and elsewhere, helping each of them achieve their Google advertising goals. Give us a call today to know more about how we can help you get more of the right leads.