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Changes in the operation of phrase and broad matching Google Ads

Google has announced significant changes to how phrase match modifiers work for search campaigns: the modified version of broad match keywords will disappear, and phrase match will include broad match modifier behavior. As a result, keywords with phrase match and broad match modifiers will work the same way and ads can be shown for queries that include the keyword's value. Changes will initially affect the English-language version of Google Ads, and within a year they will be applied to the Russian version of the program. Phrases with a broad match modifier and in phrase matching will further trigger the display of ads for a greater number of search queries

What will change in the operation of the match modifiers?

Phrase matching will now be used to cover broad match phrases. Google notes that it will "continue to follow word order when it is important for meaning," such as for airfare search phrases where the phrase order reflects the direction of the flight. An example of such a phrase in a broad match now: +tickets+moscow+istambul, will cause a display for the query "tickets from moscow to istambul,"  tickets from moscow and istambul prices" and so on.

Advertisers don't have to take any specific actions. The performance data will stay where it is, but the new matching behavior will take effect for matching and search queries.
Modified broad match keywords can be added until July. Existing modified broad match keywords will continue to work, but will be matched based on the update

How should advertisers prepare?

Google suggests that advertisers keep an eye on the "recommendations" section of their account. Notifications about recurring keywords are likely to start appearing in accounts along with these changes. Suspending versions of phrases in broad compliance may reduce the total number of keywords managed in an account.

It's also likely to affect budgets, especially for accounts that allocate budgets by match type or split match types by campaign or ad group.

Key recommendations:

  1. Monitor performance. Traffic can fluctuate due to changes and adjustments such as changing bids or suspending keywords may be necessary.
  2. Consider minus-words to eliminate inconsistencies. Updating doesn't affect minuswords that don t match close variants.
  3. Use smart bid management. Google, Smart Bidding optimizes bids in real-time and can help reduce bids in auctions where ads are less relevant or ineffective displays are expected.

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