09 February 2023

Broad match type updated

Aerial view of road amongst trees

In summary

  • The updated broad match type helps ads reach wider audiences by better understanding the intent behind search queries.
  • Key to this update is the change to the definition of a redundant keyword
  • This impacts the recommendation of use of match types and will impact how search marketers approach their campaign structure.
  • To get ready for the change, Louder has four actions for you to take now.

Broad match updated to reach wider audiences

In 2022, Google Ads introduced a new version of their broad-match type. This re-engineered match type now includes a better language model which improves its keyword and query matching by better understanding the intent behind the query.

According to Google Support, Google Ads will assess whether the search query is relevant based on the content of the landing page, the user’s recent search history, and the other keywords within the same ad group.

As another step towards the predictive era, and in an attempt to leave behind the remnants of the precision era, Google recommends getting rid of Exact and Phrase keywords that are covered already by Broad keywords. This aims to remove keywords that cover the same search queries and aggregate volumes on the Broad keywords for the machine learning systems such as auction time bidding to be most efficient.

To facilitate the adoption of this new Broad match type and to simplify the more granular Paid Search structures, Google’s recommendations to “Remove redundant keywords” now include the removal of keywords with different match types.

Redundant keyword removal suggestions
“Remove redundant keyword” recommendations in Google Ads

Changes to the definition of redundant keywords

From 19 January 2023, the “Remove redundant keywords” recommendation will evolve to include keywords across different match types to remove Exact and Phrase keywords covered by the broad match type.

Example of the broad match change

The example below shows the impact of removing redundant keywords after the change.

Broad match after Jan23 ‘Removing redundant keyword’ recommendation after 19.01.2023

In a ‘lunch box’ adgroup, the keywords “blue lunch box” (Exact match) and “blue lunch bag” (Phrase match) would be covered by the broad match keyword ‘lunch box’ and will now be identified as redundant.

What does the broad match update mean for me?

Google is doubling down on the adoption of broad match type. This is a big point of focus for the search giant in 2023.

How the change may affect you:

  • In structures with a high overlap of queries with different match-types keywords, marketers will see new recommendations about removing redundant keywords.
  • If auto-applied recommendations are enabled, marketers may see a large reduction of their keyword pool to only a few Broad match type keywords
  • If such accounts are seeing better performance across Exact compared to Phrase than Broad keywords, marketers could observe a negative impact from this change on their overall account performance.

Louder’s recommendations

With any new update to campaign settings and targeting options, marketers should be diligent and review the potential impact on their campaigns’ performance. In this particular case, Louder specialists recommend marketers do the following:

1. Disable auto apply “removing redundant keyword” recommendation
Auto-applied recommendations may remove a large number of keywords depending on the keyword structure. Louder recommends disabling the auto-apply for this recommendation and assessing manually what the system is recommending. To disable this feature, click the recommendation tab, click “auto-apply” at the top right corner, and under “keyword targeting”, untick the checkbox “remove redundant keywords”.

Redundant keyword setting
Screenshot of the “Remove redundant keywords” checkbox setting under ‘Keyword & Targeting’

2. Check the performance of broad match type vs. exact and phrase
Google has done a lot of work to improve its broad match type. Louder has conducted a number of tests on our client portfolio comparing keyword match type performance. Whilst overall we have observed positive results, this analysis should be assessed on a per-client basis. If already using the Broad match type, we recommend reviewing the performance of the different match types to compare the results.

Keyword performance chart
Screenshot of keyword performance data in Google Ads

3. If you’re not using broad match type, test its performance by running a draft and experiment test
Draft & Experiment is a feature that allows marketers to A/B test two variables using different approaches. Using this method, marketers can control the budget allocated to the test of the broad match type and its performance against Exact and Phrase match types.

4. Make time to revisit your Paid Search structure
With redundant keywords now being keywords that have overlapping queries, Broad match-type keywords are ultimately going to be covering all other match types queries, making all Exact and Phrase keywords redundant.

If Paid Search specialists already testing the Broad match type are seeing better results on Exact keywords, it may be worth considering reverting back to splitting match types at the ad group level to ensure that the better-performing Exact keywords do not get their impressions stolen by Broad match type.

5. Enable Bid strategies to focus on outcomes
As a general observation on the evolution of match types, keywords are already showing on broader search terms. Using target CPA or target ROAS bid strategies will ensure campaigns remain focussed on delivering business outcomes, reducing exposure to terms with low intent.

Tools such as SA360 offer features to optimise both bids and budgets simultaneously to drive optimal results.

Get in touch with our Louder specialists to know more about Search automation and opportunities.

Looking into 2023

This change in the definition of what a redundant keyword is definitely favours the new broad match type and the ever-increasing machine learning behind the Google Ads campaigns.

Louder’s hypothesis is that this new broad match type and Google’s focus to ensure its fast adoption is to prepare for the more conversational search queries that we are bound to have with search bots in 2023.

With ChatGPT and Google Bard in market, are we going to have the biggest search revolution this year? We believe so. One thing is for certain, 2023 is looking to be a very busy year on that front.

Learn Google Ads best practices and strategies for 2023

Get in contact with Louder to discuss.

About Aris Tse

Aris Tse is a digital advertising consultant specialising in search, he likes to bring positive energy to the team. In his spare time, you can find him lying on the beach and reading his favourite books or cycling on some challenging trail in the bush.