A Guide to Broad Match in Google AdWords

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This blog is dedicated to Broad Match in Google AdWords. However, we will start off with a brief revision of match types and their contribution to campaigns.

From our blog on match types in Google AdWords, we understand that AdWords triggers an ad only when a user search query matches a keyword defined by an advertiser. We also discussed how a search query and a keyword need not always be identical. This means that AdWords shows ads for a misspelled keyword, a synonym or a related search of the keyword. However, advertisers can control this relationship between a search query and a keyword with the help of match types.

AdWords offers 4 different match types. They are as follows:

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

E.g.: If an advertiser has  a keyword shoes, AdWords may trigger ads when user searches for shoes, black shoes, ski boots, ballerinas etc. AdWords may even return the websites of Nike, Adidas etc as results to the search query shoes.

And in this blog we will discuss:

  • What is a Broad Match in Google AdWords?
  • How does Broad Match work?
  • Why is it important to include Broad Match Keywords?

What is a Broad Match in Google AdWords?

“Broad type match lets a keyword trigger your ad to show whenever someone searches for that phrase, similar phrases, singular or plural forms, misspellings, synonyms, stemming (such as floor and flooring), related searches, and other relevant variations. When you use broad match, your ads automatically run on relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren’t in your keyword lists. This helps you attract more visitors to your website, spend less time building keyword lists, and focus your spending on keywords that work.” – Google

“In AdWords, the default set match type is a broad match. An advertiser can reach a wide range of audience, be it relevant or otherwise. A broad type match triggers an ad even when a search query remotely implies the keyword defined by an advertiser. A synonym or a misspelled keyword can be the search query. The search query need not match the order of the keyword either.” – AdNabu

Hence, from the two definitions, Broad Match is the most effective keyword match type in terms of visibility of ads. Keywords under broad match are sure to boost your number of impressions and show your ads to almost every user who is looking something you are advertising for.

How does Broad Match work?

When a keyword is set under broad type, AdWords automatically shows ads to number of searches that are similar to the one you have chosen. This is the easiest explanation of how broad match works. But here is the catch, these similar keywords may not always be relevant to what you are advertising for. This could be considered a downside of broad match.

E.g.: Let’s select a keyword Running Shoes. And we use broad match, exact match and phrase match for this keyword. Now we will make a table of queries that can trigger the ad for this keyword and their relevance.

Query Broad Match Exact Match Phrase Match Relevance
Shoes Yes No No Low
No Lace Shoes Yes No No Low
Sports Shoes Yes No No Medium
Men Running Shoes Yes No Yes High
Discount on Sports Shoes Yes No No Medium
Sports Shoe for Kids Yes No No Medium
Running Shoes Online Yes No Yes High
Size 16 Running Shoes Yes No Yes Medium

From the above table we can see that broad match triggers ads for any search query that is remotely related to the keyword. And most of them are either of medium relevance or low. The problem with such an adjustment is that we might attract a lot of irrelevant clicks which might not lead to a conversion. For eg: A user might just bounce when they see that we don’t have a size 16 shoe in our products list if he/she comes from the search size 16 shoe. However, it is still necessary to include broad match keywords in our campaigns. These keywords help us build an exhaustive keywords list with keywords that we might have missed out on. Broad match keywords open new possibilities and provide us with a better exposure.

Why is it important to include Broad Match Keywords?

Broad Match keywords have a significant importance for your campaigns. They help you garner a lot of traffic whilst improving the reach. We have also seen from the discussion earlier that broad type also brings in irrelevant traffic which leads to poor click quality. Worry not, there is a way around. By using Negative Keywords, you can eliminate keywords that are not relevant to your business offerings. Alternatively, we can also use Modified Broad Match to improve the targeting of the broad match keywords whilst allowing them to reach wider audiences.

But what is a Negative Keyword?

When an advertiser doesn’t want to trigger an ad for a word/phrase, the word/phrase is called a negative keyword.” – AdNabu

And you can also read more about Negative Keywords, their implications, implementation, and limitations in the Negative Keyword blog.

How can AdNabu help you with your AdWords campaigns?

Using AdNabu, you can create campaigns as well as optimize all your existing campaigns. Also, AdNabu measures the performance of your keywords under all the match types automatically. And you will have the progress overview of all your campaigns on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. AdNabu also suggests you pause or unpause keywords according to their performance. From helping you choose the right keywords to bid adjustments and everything in between, AdNabu does it all. AdNabu also has a free Negative Keyword Tool that can help you pick the right negative words.

And start your free trial of AdNabu already!

About the author

Mantha Sai Praveen

Content marketer by day, a poet by night.

By Mantha Sai Praveen

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