Google Ads to Phase Out Broad Match Modifier

Max Braglia - February 15, 2021

Google announced this week an update to Google Ads’ matching behavior of phrase and broad match modifier (BMM) keywords. This change, which will start rolling out in two weeks, is potentially a major change for paid search advertisers.

What exactly is happening to Broad Match Modifier (BMM)?

To give advertisers more control and better reach, Google is bringing the best of broad match modifier into phrase match. As a result, broad match modifier will be discontinued, and phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic. All of this, according to Google, while continuing to respect word order when it is important to the meaning.

Advertisers are not required to take any specific action, and broad match modified keywords can continue to be added until July. At that time, no new BMM keywords can be added, while the existing ones will continue to serve, but will be matched based on this update.

Below, I would like to share some best practices on how this update might impact paid search campaigns.

Best Practices

1) Monitor Your Phrase Match Traffic and Shift Budgets Where Necessary

Expect the share of phrase match traffic to increase, both from new traffic and due to existing traffic being shifted from other match types. As a result of this change, you will need to closely monitor the performance of your keywords, and shift budgets where necessary to continue to reach relevant search traffic.

2) Monitor your BMM traffic and Add Keywords Where Necessary

The inability to run BBM keywords will most likely mean adding new keywords to your campaigns to ensure you do not lose coverage from relevant queries. A good place to start is the Recommendations page in your Google Ads account, where keywords to recover previous BMM traffic will be labeled.

3) Create Phrase Keywords Going Forward

Although existing BMM keywords may remain with the BMM notation indefinitely and Google will not prevent new BMM keywords from being created until July, we recommend creating any new keywords using phrase notation going forward. Because phrase match and BMM will behave the same once this change fully rolls out (on February 18th), doing this will have no impact on performance.

One important thing to remember: changing the match type of a keyword will remove the old and add a new keyword, affecting the stats you see in your account.

In conclusion, I see this change as another step that Google is taking to consolidate and streamline the search experience, inviting advertisers to get away from fixating on the keyword level of search, while relying more on their machine learning (e.g., Smart Bidding) and audience targeting capabilities.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact the experts at MoreVisibility.

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