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August 10, 2019

What is Keyword Match Type in Adwords?

One of the most common mistakes advertisers make is not fully utilizing the available keyword match type and using phrase match to get all the relevant keywords details. Keyword match types are parameters that can be set on keywords to control which searches trigger our ads to appear. Each match type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s incredibly important to understand the circumstances in which we should use one and not the other. Let’s talk about the different keyword match types in AdWords before we go into specifics. There are mainly 5 keywords match types available in Adwords:


  1. Broad Match
  2. Broad Match Modifier
  3. Phrase Match  
  4. Exact Match
  5. Negative Match 


Broad Match

Broad Match, as its name suggests, is the keyword match type that allows us to reach the widest audience. When the keyword is in Broad Match, ads are eligible to appear whenever a user searches any word in our key phrase, in any order. It also allows misspellings and synonyms to trigger our ads to appear. For example, if we use broad match on the keyword “women’s hats”, ad might show when a user searches for “men’s hats”, “women’s scarves”, or “girl fedoras”. The wide reach of Broad Match keywords will increase the number of clicks we see on our ads,however, the problem is that a lot of those clicks may be coming from irrelevant traffic.

Broad Match Modifier

The Broad Match Modifier Keyword Match type is one of the favorites Match types of marketers because it gives the crazy reach of Broad Match keywords, but allows us to be more restrictive around the specific queries that will trigger our ad.Broad Match Modified keywords work by appending a ‘+’ to the specific word in our keyword phrase that we want to lock in place. When we lock a word in place, we are telling Google that we only want our ad to show when that word appears in the search query. The query can be in any order, but that one word needs to exist in it somewhere. To use the example from earlier, if we use a Broad Match Modifier on the keyword “ +women’s hats”, Google can show our ad when a user searches for “women’s fedoras”, “hats for women”, or “women’s clothing”, but will not show our ad when a user searches for “men’s hats”.

Phrase Match

When we use Phrase match keyword ad will only appear when a user searches for our exact keyword phrase, in its exact order, but maybe with some additional words at the beginning and the end of the query. If we use the keyword “women’s hats” in Phrase Match, our ads are eligible to show for users searching for “red women’s hats”, “women’s hats for weddings”, but not for “women’s blue hats” or “hats for women”. Phrase match can be useful in long tail keyword.

Exact Match

If we use Exact Keyword Match Type in Adwords, the add show only when user searching for the exact keyword. For instance if we use the keyword [woman’s hats] in the exact match, ad will show only when user searching for the Woman’s hats. Exact match use for very targeted users.

Negative Match

Choosing what NOT to target is also as important as choosing what to target. Negative keywords prevent our ads from showing up for search queries that have nothing to do with our brand. There are three types of negative keywords:

  1. Negative Broad Match is the default setting that stops ad from showing if all the negative keywords are searched, regardless of order. For example, the negative keywords “dog hat” will prevent our ad from showing up when “cute hats for dogs” is searched.
  2. Negative Phrase Match stops ads from showing if the search includes our exact keywords. Order matters! If our negative phrase match keyword is “dog hat,” our ad will not show up for the search query “cute dog hat” but will show for “hat dog.”
  3. Negative Exact Matchprevents add from showing if the search query is exactly our negative keyword. This means, our ads will show if extra words or phrases are added. The negative exact match keyword “dog hat” will prevent our ads to show only when someone searches exactly “dog hat


Each match type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Broad and Phrase are more suitable for enhancing reach and increasing clicks, however Exact and BMM are highly targeted in approach. IF the objective is to increase clicks but through targeted approach, BMM match type is better than phrase because it will help in including the right set of keywords through the + sign.

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One response to “What is Keyword Match Type in Adwords?”

  1. Samir says:

    Nicely explained

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