Keyword Match Type Guide with Examples

Adsbot Growth Team
What are Keyword Match Types?

Almost everybody in the digital marketing and publishing industry can define keywords. They are the core elements of successful SEO and SEM campaigns. But, there is more to the concept if you want better targeting that aligns with your marketing strategy regarding Google Ads: Keyword Match Types.

What are Keyword Match Types?

Keyword Match Types command the level of correspondence between your target keywords and search results. There are four match types.

  • Broad Match has the highest impression potential but the lowest conversion potential.
  • Modified Broad Match has a high impression potential and low conversion potential.
  • Phrase Match has a lower impression potential and a high conversion potential.
  • Exact Match has the lowest impression potential but the highest conversion potential.

There’s also Negative Match, which has another story. You can read our article about Negative Match Keywords and match type effects by clicking here.


Broad Match Type

  • Broad Match Type is a money burner. You shouldn’t expect high conversion rates using Broad Match Type keywords.

Some of you may know from our Negative Keywords article that we have a hypothetical laptop seller, and their products are not cheap. So let’s stick to that example. If they add “laptop computers” as a Broad Match Type keyword to their campaign, their ad might show in searches that contain any combination of the two words with other non-inclusive keywords. E.g.

  •  The ad might appear in “desktop computers,” “cheap laptops,” or “gaming laptops” search results.

Advantages of Broad Match

Even though Broad Match Type keywords have low CTR and conversion rates, 

  • you can use them to get more visibility if you pick your keywords carefully. 
  • You can run brand awareness campaigns when there’s a little extra cash to burn.
  • You can spare some money to run tests with Broad Match Type keywords to discover more effective keywords you can tag as Phrase Match and Exact Match; you can determine how you can modify your Broad Match Type keywords.

Disadvantages of Broad Match

  • There’s the risk of overspending if you are not careful with the ads that target Broad Match Type keywords.
  • Lowering your Quality Score because of low CTR and irrelevant clicks.

Modified Broad Match Type

Modified Broad Match Type provides more control over your Broad Match keywords. For example, if our laptop seller tags their keywords “laptop computers” with Modified Broad Match Type (+laptop +computers), the search must include both words and their combinations with different words. As a result, they can eliminate their ad from appearing in “desktop computers” search results. It might still appear on the “cheap laptop computers,” but not on the “gaming laptops” results page, though.

Advantages of Modified Broad Match

Obviously, you can easily exclude most of the irrelevant clicks compared to Broad Match Type without the trouble of adding them one by one to your Negative Keywords list. That will help your ad to have a better Quality Score.

Disadvantages of Modified Broad Match

Your impressions will be lower than Broad Match Type, but relevant clicks might cover that loss. Also, you will probably have fewer conversions than Phrase Match Type and Exact Match Type.

Phrase Match Type

Phrase Match Type shows your ads if the search has the words in the exact order. If our made up laptop dealer uses “laptop computers” as Phrase Match Type, their ad still can’t avoid appearing in “cheap laptop computers.” Still, it can appear in “gaming laptop computers” or “apple laptop computers” search results. Since both require substantial investments, those searches might be ok for them.

Let’s assume that our laptop guys ran a short campaign with Broad Match Type keywords “laptop computers,” and they figured they have a good CTR in “gaming laptops” searches.

They can add “gaming laptops” to their keyword list as Phrase Match Type to get more relevant clicks to their ad. However, it can still be triggered by “cheap gaming laptops” and “gaming laptops on sale” searches. So it might or might not be a problem for our dealer. It depends on their marketing strategy and their ad copy.

Advantages of Phrase Match

You can get more relevant clicks and convert more sales cautiously by choosing your Phrase Match Type keywords. Also, your impressions will be higher in Phrase Match Type than in Exact Match Type but lower than Broad and Modified Broad Match Types.

Disadvantages of Phrase Match

The advantages of Phrase Match Type come with a price—literally. The bids for Phrase Match Type keywords are usually higher than Broad and Modified Broad Match Type keywords. But, you can compensate for your expenses if you can get enough leads and customers, which is highly possible.

You might need more time to optimize your ad copies and landing pages for better customer experiences to get the best results from your Phrase Match Type keywords.

Exact Match Type

Your ad will appear only if the users search the exact words in the exact order if you tag your keywords as Exact Match Type. So, for example, the users who search for “cheap gaming laptops” and “gaming laptops on sale” can’t see our laptop dealer’s ad if they add “gaming laptops” to their keyword list as Exact Match Type. It is an awful decision to tag this highly competitive phrase as Exact Match Type, by the way.

If they realize they have good CTR but not enough conversion from the users who searched for “gaming laptops on sale” when they use “gaming laptops” as Phrase Match. They might decide to have a temporary discount on gaming laptops and create a new ad with a more relevant ad copy and a new landing page on which they put only the gaming laptops on sale. Then add “gaming laptops on sale” as Exact Match Type keywords.

Advantages of Exact Match

You have the highest possible conversion rate with Exact Match Type keywords if you do your targeting correctly, which will cause less wasted spending.

Disadvantages of Exact Match

It’s clear that you can’t get too much traffic from Exact Match Type keywords. So, don’t expect to have a lot of impressions, but your CTRs and sales will be much higher than other Keyword Match Types.

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