Google to phase out broad match modifier

Google have just announced some major changes that will affect pay per click campaigns. It will begin to phase out the broad match modifier match and expand phrase match. Google’s announcement says:

At the heart of Google Ads is our ability to connect businesses with the people who are looking for what they have to offer. Whether they’re searching for “takeout restaurants”—which have grown more than 5,000% year over year—or something Google has never seen before—which makes up 15% of queries every day2—people expect to find the products and services they’re looking for.

Over the years, we’ve improved our understanding of intent to make it easier for you to reach your customers. For example, your keywords can now match to the meaning of a search, and broad match is now more effective at driving performance–especially when paired with Smart Bidding. With these improvements, we’ve seen that phrase match and broad match modifier often serve the same use cases, and that you can reach more of the right customers through a combination of the two.

How this changes for you

Currently, an advertiser using broad match modifier for the keywords +moving +services +London +to +Manchester may show up for the search query “moving services London to Manchester.” The advert can also show when someone searches “moving services Manchester to London,” which may not be what the advertiser wants because the searcher is moving in the opposite direction.

The updated phrase match will continue to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning, the announcement reads. The following example below demonstrates how matching behaviour will change after this update: 

Broad match modifier keyword Queries that no longer match after the update
+CV +services  What are some customer service skills to put in a CV
+best +trainers  Best prices on trainers for kids 
+used +trainers  Companies that used Inkjet printers 


Phrase match keyword Queries that will match after the update 
“holidays in Zambia” Holiday spots in Zambia
“long sleeve dress” Long sleeve lace dress 
“womens boots” new womens size 37 boots

Broad match modifier on its way out

This new matching behaviour and change to phrase and broad match modifier will start rolling out on mid-February. Because the change is happening to both keyword match types there is no need to migrate keywords and advertisers will get to keep their performance data.

In July, after the new change has rolled out worldwide, advertisers will not be able to create new broad match modifier keywords. Existing broad match modifiers keywords will serve under the new behaviour.