Why Google Got Rid Of Broad Match Modified: An Opinion

Broad Match Modified is on its way out. See why Google got rid of the long-time search engine tool.
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Why Google Got Rid Of Broad Match Modified: An Opinion

The time is now. Google's broad match modified is on the outs.

The phasing out of the broad match type, first announced back in February 2021, started a countdown for this summer. Well, it's July 2021, and broad match modified is finally on the chopping block.

But why did Google decide to ax this proven method of exposing ads to consumers? Understandably, not many marketers are thrilled about the switch. It means a possible decrease in web traffic, thus kneecapping some of their ad campaigns.

Let's break it down. But first, some background info to keep everything fresh for you.

What is Broad Match Modified?

Broad match modified was when you would take a match type in Google search and, you guessed it, modify it for optimal Google Search ad performance.

Marketers and ad experts would take a plus sign, combine it with specific match keywords, and use the broad match modifier to boost exposure for ad campaigns.

For example, if you were to type in the terms '+coffee +bagels' (our personal favorites), you'd get broad Google Search Ad results. Adding the plus sign would help you see everything containing those two keywords, regardless of the order you put them.

Here are the main match types you can use and see on Google.

What Are Match Types?

Match types are the various types of search results that show your Google Ad.

For example, the broad match modified results for your search query of '+coffee +bagels' don't guarantee ideal ad exposure for your business.

Broad Match

Broad match is perfect if you're all about exposure. And who isn't?

Wanting for your Google Ad to pop up as much as possible sounds like a good deal.

However, broad match has a few drawbacks, too. Broad match keywords can include misspellings, grammatical errors, and search queries you want no part of. This can muddy the waters of your campaign.

Exact Match

Full disclosure: exact match type doesn't necessarily mean 'exact.'

While advertisers want consumers to search out their content with more specific terms, Google does a little lifting in terms of technicalities. For example, if you searched 'coffee and bagel cafés,' the word order can switch a bit. Your ad could show up for something like 'cafés with coffee and bagels.'

Exact match is for those advertisers out there who want exact keywords to match up with their advertising. This means that your ads will show up only when someone looks up the exact words and variants of your business.

Phrase Type

Phrase match type is the best of both worlds. It includes a broad(ish) match type with a more exact phrasing. It includes additional words in the search query, as well.

Let's go back to our coffee and bagel example. Searching for "coffee and bagels" could lead to something like "coffee and bagels near me" or "best coffee and bagels."

This is a great way to optimize Google Search Ad performance.

Broad Match Modified Wasn't Profitable For Google

It always seems to come down to dollar amounts. Hear us out.

Let's get right down to it: Because of broad match modified, there was no need for phrase match. Phrase match shows up for fewer options, making it less profitable for Google. You can see where this is going.

This also makes it less reliable for a marketer to find new keyword variations and pairings.

To find new keyword pairings, you have to do more SEO research or use standard broad matches to find new keywords and close variants.

Broad Match Modified Takes Effort

News flash: most people don't have the time or are too lazy to find new keywords. It's just the way it is.

So those not willing to put the work in will most likely be forced to use broad match modified if they can't reach their spend goals. No one likes wasted spending on an ad campaign.

Google says this is supposed to improve results and be a more intelligent version of modified broad match.

But where they lose us is there is no evidence besides "better AI" to support that claim that irrelevant search terms like 'Boston to NYC' won't show.

Flipping the Script: Keywords and Their Variants

A glaring change for phrase match taking over broad match modified is the exclusion of keyword flipping.

Remember the plus signs?

If we typed in "+moving +services +NYC +to +Boston,' we'd get a lot of search results. These results would show up for both NYC to Boston in addition to Boston to NYC. You'd even get results like 'affordable moving services NYC to Boston,' and 'moving services Boston to NYC.'

With updated phrase matching, the search results with 'Boston to NYC' won't show up.

Where Google loses us again is that there is no evidence besides "better AI" to support the claim that irrelevant search terms like 'Boston to NYC' won't show.

Final Thoughts on Google's Broad Match Modified

Only time will tell if the elimination of broad match modified will be a prudent business decision for Google. With some apparent flaws in the search results for the updated phrase match type, you can see that there is still much left to be desired. 

Did you use modified broad match for your ad campaigns? Which match type do you prefer to use in your Google Ad account?

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