Google Expands Phrase Match to Include Broad Match Modifier Traffic

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Google Expands Phrase Match to Include Broad Match Modifier Traffic


What's Happening to Broad Match Modifier?


If there’s one thing that search giant Google isn’t afraid to do its shaking up their search engine results algorithm every now and again – especially if they believe it’s going to help produce more relevant results for their users.


This get a little annoying for search engine optimization experts and marketers looking to cash in on tried and true techniques for traffic generation, but it’s part and parcel with online marketing these days.


At the same time, major changes like one where Google decides to expand phrase match to include broad match modifier traffic send shockwaves through the SEO world for sure.


Below I breakdown what you need to do to capitalize onthese changes before your competitors do!


What’s Going on with Google and Phrase Matching?


In early February 2021, Google announced that their “broadmatch” modified version of keywords are going to be phased out for paid search campaigns over a two-week span of time.


As of right now, the “broad match modifier” used in paid search engine marketing campaigns with Google essentially told the search giant that all of the terms in that string had to be used in a specific query for those advertisements to trigger.


Now, however, phrase match is going to take more of apriority – still making sure that all terms are included in specific search queries for ads to trigger, but now they won’t necessarily have to be in the exact same order.


The example Google used to explain these changes looks a lot like this:


Broad match modifier keywords that look like this “+resume+services” will no longer trigger matches with search engine queries like “what are customer service skills to put on a resume”.


At the same time, phrase match keywords like “long sleeve dress” or will now match with queries like “long sleeve frilly dress”, opening up a pool of relevant connections for ads to be displayed on that might not have been shown in the past.


These changes are definitely being done in an effort to increase the relevancy of search engine results but also to expose more searchers to relevant advertising (paid advertising) as well.


  • Phrase match will gain some traffic because extra words may be put in between the phrase.
  • Full BMMs will lose some traffic because word order will have to be preserved in some cases.
  • Partial BMMs will lose more traffic because without the ability to selectively [+] words, partial BMMs will no longer work; they will become more like full BMMs which are more restrictive.

What Should I Be Doing to Capitalise on These Changes?


Google has been waging a long-standing campaign to try and get most paid search advertisers away from heavily fixating on specific keywords.


That definitely seems a little bit counterintuitive at first (especially since so much on Google’s keyword driven, after all), but it’s all been done in an effort to get better results for business partners that are spending money on advertising without diluting their conversion rates.


To better prepare for this shift (a shift that will becomplete by the end of February 2021) savvy marketers are going to need to makesure that they have:


  • Really flesh out their relevant phrase match keywords across all of their campaigns
  • Added broad match keywords to any of their campaigns running a Smart Bidding Strategy
  • Optimized search campaigns with lower levels of traffic, looking for ways to take advantage of the new phrase match keywords to improve their results


… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

What's more? Microsoft Ads to replace Manual CPC with Enhanced CPC by end of April 2021

“Starting in March 2021 and continuing through April 2021, all existing search, shopping, and Dynamic Search Ads campaigns without any automated bidding strategies in place will be automatically migrated to Enhanced CPC. All ad groups and keywords will also be set to inherit bidding from their parent Campaign,” says the announcement.

Migration timeline. The deadline for adjusting your campaigns is at the end of April.

  • March: Manual CPC to eCPC migration begins
  • April 5: New campaigns will no longer have the option of Manual CPC
  • April 30: Any campaigns not yet using eCPC will be automatically migrated

The manual CPC and all the hassle work are seems to go to an end.

Start testing now. Microsoft Advertising recommends paid advertising managers start testing their automated bidding setup now, before the migration sunset begins.


Microsoft Ads Smart Bidding Testing Logic Tree
Microsoft Ads Smart Bidding Testing Logic Tree

At the end of the day, the odds are pretty good that you won’t have to do too terribly much to improve your search engine campaigns with Google & Microsoft– what changes will be necessary.


Make smarter moves to leverage the new phrase match changes implemented and you won’t have to worry about how Google expands phrase match to include broad match modifier traffic crippling the effectiveness of your adrollouts! And make sure you have tested all the smart bidding in Microsoft (Bing) and choose the suitable bidding strategy for your campaigns.



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Dean Long | Expert in Growth MarketingDean Long

Dean Long is a Sydney-based performance marketing and communication professional with expertise in paid search, paid social, affiliate, and digital advertising. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Management and is also a distinguished MBA graduate from Western Sydney University.