Google, back in February 2021, announced the updated treatment of phrase match to include the broad match modifier traffic (BMM). Phrase match now will be able to work in Google Ads to improve PPC performance with the help of machine learning algorithms. With the inclusion of automation, users' intents get prioritized over manual inputs from advertisers that sometimes might not suitably address the searchers' queries.
The updated Google phrase match speaks to an overarching trend and will allow businesses to reach more customers and save time. The inclination towards automation will provide more control to the searcher concerning their queries and will also encourage data transparency.
According to Google's definition of new phrase match, "Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of the keyword which can be implied, and user searches can be a more specific form of the meaning."
The changes rolled out in Google phrase match to include the additional broad match modifier traffic and the consequential end of support for the broad match modifier will impact the PPC trends in 2021 in the following ways:
With the big shift in Google phrase match, it’s not about keywords anymore, but what they mean. The meaning of the keyword for phrase match now needs to be part of the query. However, additional text is allowed in the query.
The new definition of phrase doesn't include any references to word order as the case was earlier. Google's machine learning algorithms have now evolved to distinguish whether the word order matters and now it's no longer an obligation to maintain a strict word order.
This sort of sounds like the old, original broad match but the broad match itself has evolved and can now show ads for related searches even if their meaning is different.
With the changes being made in the Google phrase match the match types in 2021 can be defined as follows:
Evidently, the middle of the specificity spectrum is occupied by phrase match.
Earlier, when an advertiser used a broad match identifier for the keywords +moving +services +NYC +to +Boston, they might show up for the query “moving services NYC to Boston.” However, the ad might also display when someone searched, “moving services Boston to NYC,” which might not be what the advertiser wanted because the searcher was moving in the opposite direction.
However, the updated phrase match now, wouldn’t show ads for search queries in the opposite direction.
The updated phrase match will continue to respect word order when it is important to the meaning, announced Google.
For example, if the new phrase match keyword is “holidays in Zambia” it wouldn’t match the query “holiday spots in Zambia,” similarly, if the new broad match modifier keyword is +used +printers it wouldn’t include the query “companies that used daisy wheel printers.”
According to Google, "We've seen that phrase match and broad match modifier often serve the same use cases and that you can reach more of the right customers through a combination of the two."
Because of the evolution in the Google phrase match leading to the transition in both phrase match and broad match modifier to the new matching behavior, advertisers don’t need to migrate keywords and get more data control as they get to keep their performance data.
Also, the advertisers now can’t create new broad match modifier keywords and the existing broad match modifier keywords serve under the new behavior.
Google has announced, “Broad match now looks at additional signals in your account to deliver more relevant searches.”
These signals include landing pages and keywords in your ad group.
An exact match keyword that is identifiable to the query will always take priority as long as it’s eligible to match. Thus, keyword matching now is more predictable.
The new phrase match is smart bidding friendly. It gives the advertisers better control over bid management. Marketers should seriously consider automating bids if they want the ad engine to decide some of the keywords matching for them, like when to use phrase or broad match.
As the match types have significantly loosened, advertisers can consider automating bids.
When Google decides to show your ad for less-related queries, marketers don’t want to be stuck bidding the same amount for those queries.
When queries are less related, their conversion rates might also be lower. In such cases, advertisers may require lower bids to perform at an acceptable level in terms of the CPC (Cost-Per-Click) or the ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend).
With the inclusion of machine learning algorithms and automation, Google has taken a strong step to control and amalgamate millions of signals to make auction time decisions that weren't possible ever before with advertisers making the manual biddings, bereft of the immense advantages being provided by the technology and other machine learning bidding solutions for better intent-based keyword targeting of the searchers.
Moreover, Google has stated numerous times that roughly 15% of the searches it receives every day are new, and with some level of the campaign, automation advertisers can tap into that traffic as well, which wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
As the advertisers will understand how the new phrase match works and will deploy monitoring & bidding automation, the phrase match will prove to be a very useful match type for them. This can save advertisers time managing keywords. Some advertisers though might also look at the phrase match update as Google's strategy to take away some more control that matches types once offered for the promise of more & better automation. Also, a lot of time is being spent on recalibrating campaigns.
Anyway, creating new keywords in the updated phrase match is something that will take a bit of practice and test-running before the advertisers can make out how to use the combinations that best contribute to the success of their campaigns.
Keeping an eye on the key performance metrics (KPIs) would be beneficial and it would also give the advertisers an idea about the fluctuation in the traffic while working with the new phrase match. Accordingly, the advertisers can also make the necessary adjustments as and when required.
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The upgrading of Google phrase match overall seems to be a win-win situation for advertisers and searchers. With this update, Google has pronounced a way forward to providing more intent-based relevancy to the searchers on the search engine result pages. It's clear that keywords now are no longer just words but are more about meanings, as the search engine views them. Ad engines, however, will still give advertisers a spectrum of match types to choose from so that they can convey to Google how loosely or closely a search query should match their keyword.
Phrase match lies between the exact and the broad match and offers balance to the advertisers in terms of precision and volume. The advertisers should introspect the impact being made on the PPC trends in the light of the points being highlighted in the blog so that they can accordingly include the phrase matches in their campaigns for better targeting, visibility, traffic, and conversions.
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