At the beginning of the month, Google announced that they would be phasing out their Broad Match Modifier (BMM) and expanding Phrase match keywords to incorporate BMM keywords. This news has sparked a massive debate between marketers about its impact and caused a frenzy throughout the industry. But is there anything to worry about?
These changes have begun rolling out this month and will take full effect in July of this year when advertisers will no longer be able to create new BMM keywords.
What is BMM?
With modified broad match keywords, you use a plus sign to identify the keywords required for your ad to show; your ads will only show if all words preceded by a plus sign or close variants are present in the user’s search query. However, the order doesn’t matter.
|BMM keyword||Ads may show for these search terms||Ads won’t show for these search terms|
|+women’s +shoes||– Shoes for women|
– Women’s leather shoes
– Black women’s shoes
|– Ladies Shoes|
– Women’s Trainers
– Black Shoes
Google’s Broad Match Modifier was released in 2010 and quickly gained popularity among marketers. It allowed them to reach a wider audience while still ensuring their ads were viewed by relevant searchers.
How does Phrase Match differ?
Prior to these new changes, phrase match keywords, shown by using quotation marks, will show ads where a search query has the specified phrase in the specific order written.
|Phrase Match Keyword||Ads may show for these search terms||Ads won’t show for these search terms|
|“Women’s shoes”|| – Black women’s shoes|
– Women’s leather shoes
– Women’s shoes for sale
|– Shoes for women|
– Women’s Trainers
– Black shoes for women
The new Phrase Match
The new phrase match will essentially be a combination of the old phrase match and BMM. Phrase Match will now cover a lot of the search terms that BMM did, whilst also matching order if it is important to the meaning. The new phrase match will also include different words with the same meaning, like synonyms.
|New Phrase Match Keyword.||Ads may show for these search terms.||Ads won’t show for these search terms.|
|“Women’s Shoes”||– Shoes for Women|
– Ladies Shoes
– Black Women’s Shoes
|– Black Shoes|
– Men’s Shoes
As you can see from the example above, in theory these changes should allow advertisers to reach a wider audience whilst still only showing ads for relevant searchers.
What Google says
“To give you more control and better reach, we’re bringing the best of broad match modifier into phrase match. As a result, phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic, while continuing to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning. This makes it easier to reach customers and manage keywords in your account.”
Google is continuously working to improve their keyword matching and strive to provide users with the most relevant ads for their searches.
“At the heart of Google Ads is our ability to connect businesses with the people who are looking for what they have to offer.”
What does this change actually mean for marketers?
There has been some debate between marketers about what this means for them; some are optimistic that these changes will truly help them manage their keywords, whereas others believe these changes rely too heavily on Google’s machine learning and could have a major impact on their CPCs and search volume.
Until these changes come into full effect, there is no way to know for sure what impact they will have. It is thought that advertisers who currently use a combination of Phrase Match and BMM keywords may see a slight decline in their search volume, but even this is not guaranteed.
It is also likely that marketers who currently only use phrase match keywords will see an increase in search volume due to the new phrase match’s broader matching criteria. In contrast, those who currently use BMM keywords only could see a minor decline in search volume.
What can you do to prepare?
While Google states that there is no action required to accommodate these changes, they suggest that you keep a close eye on your accounts and be prepared to make adjustments in case of any performance changes.
For users who currently don’t use BMM keywords, there is a chance that these changes may trigger some irrelevant search terms for your keywords; it may be worth conducting some keyword research and implementing negative keywords to prepare for these changes.
Following the change, we recommend regularly reviewing your search query reports and ad relevance scores to ensure there are no performance issues.
As marketers, we are used to adapting to constant changes in the industry, and this is no different. This isn’t the first time Google has made changes to the way it matches keywords, and with the constant development of its machine learning, we will likely see even more changes in the not-so-distant future.
To see if we can help with scaling your PPC campaigns, get in touch with us today!