2021: Broad Match Modified Keyword Match Type Update | Oyova
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Adwords Broad Match Type Changes (2021): What You Need to Know

Adwords Broad Match Type Changes

Early this year, 2021, Google changed how their Ads Platform keywords match types will behave now that their new Machine Learning algorithms are in full swing. This post will cover how these changes shift the way broad match type keywords function, what you will need to do in your day-to-day account management role, and how it will affect your overall CPC strategy.

Google Keyword Broad Match Type Rollouts, What Changed?

Modified Broad Keyword Match Types Don’t Behave Like Before

Okay, so what changed exactly? Google changed the way two different keyword match types behave.

  1. Broad Modified Match terms behave like Phrase Match keywords, and
  2. Phrase Match keywords behave more like a Broad Match keyword

The change in how broad modified match terms works to reduce spam in the management of ads. Google is fully confident in its new Big Bert algorithm, which now has the unwavering ability to match keyword terms based on users’ intent and the indexed content they crawl. The launch of Google’s Bi-Directional algorithm is the first step towards Google’s intent to completely automate Google’s Ads experience and select the keywords based on performance data they hold.

Legacy Broad Match Modified Will Continue To Serve as of July 2021

You will still see legacy broad match modifiers continue to serve ads, but they will behave as phrase match keywords. In that context, these keyword modifiers will suffice so long as you don’t update keyword text. Should you change the keyword text at all, the default phrase match notation will take over. So if you have campaigns that are performing, don’t mess with those ads. There is no guarantee that this legacy action should hold but if you have ad groups that are your performers, beware! On a positive note, Google states that you can edit other attributes of BMM keywords, like bids or status.

Phrase Match Keyword Type Behaves Differently Now, Upgraded

The main keyword match type to change is the phrase match keyword, and this change is more of a default option and an upgrade. Before February 2021, advertisers had a guarantee of keywords appearing in a particular order. The guaranteed order of keywords enabled advertisers to control the quality of traffic to hit their landing pages. You can still achieve the marketing goal of getting the desired traffic and quality using phrase match. However, you will have to use negative keywords better than before to ensure quality traffic.

The random ordering of the keywords has to do with Google’s Smart ability to trigger ads for more advanced user search intent. So although there are some situations where negative keywords need to be used to control the quality of traffic, make sure you don’t limit your campaigns by segmenting your keywords too aggressively.

What About Broad Match Keywords?

These keyword types are now more integrated with your campaigns and ad groups than ever. Google’s #1 Goal in making broad terms more integral with your keyword bids is to increase your overall campaign traffic. The granular control of keywords using modified broad match terms did not perform the way Google intended, and as a result, we are noticing BMM getting phased out completely. Google is adamant about making sure they can get advertisers as much traffic and money as possible.

Learning To Trust Broad Match as Natural Language Processing Algorithms Take Over

Most CPC professionals are nervous about turning all campaigns over to more SMART bidding strategies or tools that Google rolls out. But all is not lost, and there are many positives with the degradation of BMM keywords, and that has to do with using more broad matches that really will help your ads get much more exposure. Google promises to bring the very best of broad modified to broad terms, but only when the searcher has real intent. This type of update is unprecedented!

All Digital Advertisers should bask in this technological achievement because the truth is we were failing to find this intent on our own. The number one problem of all Marketing Objectives is the lack of enough reach and traffic to landing pages to get the numbers predicted in many KPIs and ultimately the necessary traffic into the sales funnel. Moving forward, you will see how this 10-year effort on Google’s part is adding value to the market and helping you serve your clients.

Broad Match Pros and Cons

As mentioned above, having broad match terms inside of phrase match keyword types has some pros and cons:


  1. Wider Traffic Targeting
  2. Hidden Information Discovery In Keywords
  3. Ad Experimentation and Testing Ad Copy Concepts, Real Growth Opportunities
  4. Machine Learning To Assist In Capturing Hard To Segment Intent-Based On Data Points


  1. Keywords Won’t Appear In Order
  2. Some Budget Waste In Testing
  3. More Work In Building Negative Keywords To Control Ad Triggering
  4. Not Very Friendly To Small Business Trying To Get Their Products/Services To Market

How You Can Adjust Overall Marketing Strategy Using Broad Match To Your Advantage

It’s easy to fall into the trap of the cons with Google’s changes to legacy keyword match types. But all is not lost! CPC professionals need to focus more on becoming more holistic in their role in Digital Marketing. Becoming more holistic applies to all marketing positions. For the scope of Paid Search Marketing, it is vital to get back to basics, which is about testing ads and keywords!

Testing needs to be part of all marketing activities moving forward. With a testing attitude, you can start planning and structuring your campaigns to use broad match terms in phrase match to extend your campaign reach. By using more broad keywords, you will also discover hidden intent with search traffic, and this discovery of target customers in more broad keywords is something that Google will help and do in the background. However, not including more broad terms for your phrase match terms can limit the full potential of Google’s Bi-Directional algorithms and ultimately limit your campaign performance.

Your target audiences will have augmented and almost hard-to-predict user search journeys, thus making manual keyword prediction challenging. Defaulting to granular control of your keywords will result in leaving money on the table and or puts you in a position to underperform. It’s critical to know that Machine Learning will outperform any manual control because they have access to more data from your potential prospects. What most are just unaware of, you will never have access to data points like that, and this is where Google shines and adds value to your marketing objectives.

Understand How Google’s Natural Language Processing Uncovers Intent

As mentioned above, Google’s Smart technology and or algorithms have data points unavailable to marketing directors only because you cannot gather real-time data on prospects on the web. Google records data based on users’ behavior across their network, and as a result, they can now use their bi-directional algorithm to put together predictive actions. Google brings the user and the advertiser together in ways never found before. Uncovering intent is the ultimate goal of all Digital Marketers. If you think about it, these changes from Google to deprecate how broad modified match terms behave in the big picture are critical because the time it would take humans to mine hidden information, or hidden intent is just not economical.

Possible Actions You Should Take To Help Improve Your Campaign Performance

Amidst the changes, there are some actionable concepts you can start to apply and potentially research further over the next few years. Overall, the most significant action you can take is to add more testing mentality and improve keyword research using Natural Language Processing.

  1. Improving Account Structure To Help Google Learn More About Ads and Landing Pages
  2. Implement Ad Concepts & Test Intent To Build Account Performance
  3. Improving Negative Keywords To Control Quality of Traffic Trigger Ads
  4. Add Natural Language Processing Keyword Research To Mine Hidden Keywords

So there you have it. With this information, you are ready to face the new world for Digital Marketers to finally drill down on measurement marketing and user intent to create a better web for searches from all walks of life.

Moving Forward, Set Your CPC Culture To Implement Testing and Optimizing User Intent 

The changes described in this blog post can be very intimidating, and in many ways, they are. There’s nothing worse than getting disrupted by market forces. However, know that these changes are for the best.

Moving forward, as a CPC guru, you will spend less time stressing over managing meta-keywords to grow your campaigns or optimize your campaign’s performance. You will need to work to help Google use its new algorithms to predict more quality traffic with more broad terms in your phrase match keyword types. There are other activities you can focus on, such as:

  • getting better account structure to focus on a testing mentality and labeling your ads to create more meaningful data,
  • organizing campaigns more around quality keyword themes and landing pages, and
  • mining keywords through advanced keyword research using Natural Language Processing

So it’s time to brush up on those Python skills!

In the future, you will spend more of your time marketing your client’s business through improved ad copy and developing better data through account structuring. These activities are just as time-intensive as before with building SKAGs, mining data from user-generated search term reporting, and several other micro-segmentation efforts. Don’t be afraid to try out the laid-out suggestions here to adjust to Google’s deprecation of Broad Modified Match Types, and remember, marketing is a discipline of testing and measurement. This discipline and mindset are guaranteed to extract information that will lead towards producing more quality conversions in the long run!