What this means for you is that broad match modifiers will no longer be available after July 2021, and all of your broad match modifier keywords will now default to phrase match.
How do you get ahead of this change? Read on!
You probably know there are three kinds of match types in AdWords. Just so we don't leave anyone behind, though, let's have a quick recap of the three main match types.
Ads may show for searches that match the keyword or have terms with similar meaning. Of the three options, exact match is best because it allows you to target your audience more precisely.
Advertisements may show for user searches which include the meaning of your keywords. The meaning of the keyword can be implied and user searches can often be a more specific form of this kind. With phrase match, you reach more customers but your advertising will not be shown to those looking for something different. This is more focused than broad match but less targeted than exact match.
Broad match is the default keyword match type, and it allows an ad to show on searches that are related to your keyword. This expands your reach without needing to specify each specific term within search queries.
To provide more relevant matches on Google's advertising platform, broad match includes a broader variety of criteria, such as:
This match type will trigger your ads when the keyword is present in any form (exact or close variant) - including those with/without quotation marks, numbers, punctuation, etc. To add a BMM keyword you need to put “+” sign before it. Doing this tells Google that the keyword must be used in the search.
Fortunately, Broad Match Modifiers can still be enabled. By adding a plus (+) sign before the broad match words you want to include in search queries, any query with these keywords will trigger your ad. Broad matching and modifiers do not respect the order of words, so the matching words may appear next to each other or appearing separately at different points in the search query.
A broad match is broader than an ad using modified broad match because the broad match keyword will trigger ads for synonyms and related searches, even if they do not include the actual keyword or keyword phrase. Broad match modified keywords only trigger ads when the specific words, or close synonyms, are searched.
In February 2021, Google began to incorporate behaviors of (BMM) into a phrase match. Broad match modifiers are now considered "phrase" instead of an exact search as they were before.
Google plans to roll the phrase matching behaviour out to more languages in the future:
You don’t need to change anything about your phrase or broad match keywords in order to see the upcoming changes.
The broad match modifier (BMM) will be updated to become the phrase match for Google AdWords. The new behavior will be more expansive than phrase match, but slightly more restrictive than BMM.
We want to help you prepare for the upcoming changes, so we've put together a set of five steps to follow:
We recommend that you closely monitor your Search Terms reports and account performance.
For your phrase keywords, be prepared to see an increase in traffic volumes for those phrases. It’s possible you might also see a decrease in traffic volumes for BMM (broad matched modifier) keywords with some words modified but not all of them (+moving services).
As of April 2021, the updated phrase match has gone into effect for English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Russian.
Changed phrase match (and legacy broad match modifier): Adwords will show on searches containing the meaning of your keyword. Users can get more specific with their searches and yet still trigger an ad.
For any language not mentioned above, phrase and broad match modifier keywords will continue to use the definitions below until July 2021. In this month they will be fully using the updated phrase match definition.
To avoid a temporary drop in volume, it is best to wait until the update has fully rolled out in your language.
Here is a section from Google Support to help you change these keywords quickly: [About changes to phrase match and broad match modifier - Google Ads Help]
Within Google Ads:
This solution will only apply the selected match type changes to BMM keywords. Note: This option is expected to be available to all advertisers by the end of May. Within Google Ads Editor, warnings will appear next to BMM keywords. Use the “Fix” prompt to update all selected BMM keywords to any match type. Keep in mind: Whether using these solutions or converting manually, your BMM keywords’ performance statistics will not carry over to the new instances of keywords.
In order to give all advertisers a fair shake, the updated BMM preference will not differentiate between legacy keywords and phrase match keywords in determining Ad Rank.
Adwords broad match modifiers will no longer apply to a subset of the words in your keyword. If you use Keyword +moving services, the operator will now apply to both words "moving services" or "moving services". To offset changes in traffic volume and get more leads, consider updating your keywords and adding relevant ones that have been recommended for recovery of any lost volume.