Google announced, from late July 2021 advertisers will no longer be able to create broad match modifier (BMM) keywords with the +keyword notation. Existing BMM keywords will be updated to have the same behaviour as the new phrase matching. On February 18, phrase matching became more expansive by combining the control of a phrase match with the wider reach of the now discontinued BMM.

Source: Google

No specific actions are needed by you as Google has been slowly rolling out changes to avoid massive disruptions. But they recommend moving towards creating keywords in phrase matching in the future as the change will “bring the best of broad match modifier into phrase match” as they “often serve the same use cases, and that you can reach more of the right customers through a combination of the two.”


What does Google recommend?

Whilst these changes are still taking place, there isn’t any straightforward advice on how to prepare for the changes. However, Google has outlined some steps that make navigating these changes easier while still looking after your campaigns.

  1. Use Google’s “Remove Redundant Keywords” recommendation to remove BMM keywords that may have been duplicated in the same ad group under phrase matching.

  2. Monitor keyword performance and campaign budgets. Phrase matches may see more traffic and BMM keywords may see a reduction, so it's important to make adjustments to the campaign budgets and keep an eye on any ongoing changes.

  3. Use negative keywords to exclude irrelevant matches coming up, as more traffic may be directed to your ads in general.

  4. Consider using Google’s Smart Bidding to avoid losing coverage as it’ll help you reach more relevant searches to meet your objectives.


What Our Team Suggests

“If you’re not sure whether Broad and Phrase keywords are the right match type for your account, consider testing them on your existing campaigns and ad groups that have the highest volume. By bidding on Broad Match keywords, paired with Google’s smart bidding strategies, we have been able to show our ads for high performing, incremental search terms that wouldn’t have been covered with our previous strategies, so we think it’s definitely worth testing!”

“Google's Smart Bidding algorithms have come a long way in a relatively short period of time, having an advertisers “guiding hand” when deciding how broadly or conservatively a smart bidding algorithm should target searchers was still essential. More recently though the ability to relinquish this need for control has become possible. Data is still key though, if my goal is conversions then I make sure I have enough high-quality leads or sales accrued within a campaign before I start broadening the targeting through a broad match. If the results of a campaign remain good then expanding the keywords list through either Broad or Phrase match is well worth testing.”

Google aims to keep making changes to improve the efficiency of Ad campaigns and monitoring the performance of keywords. Their changes to Broad Match Modifiers should serve as a benefit to all their ad campaigns, but it does give them more control and may take a while to get familiar with. Google is likely to keep making changes that allow advertisers to do more and become more efficient, so this won’t be the last time keywords and other advertising tools are shaken up.

Ultimately these changes have been implemented to simplify and improve the efficiency of your Ad Campaigns, making it easier to monitor the performance of keywords as well as potentially experiencing an increase in traffic by becoming more flexible.

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