Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
(703) 828-5811‬
Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing Google’s New Match Type Now Live – Modified Broad Match

Google’s New Match Type Now Live – Modified Broad Match

I was lucky enough to be in the beta of modified broad match and have been using this match type for a couple months now to great success. Google lifted the veil of secrecy today about the new match type and let me know that I can now blog about it.

Broad match increases reach. Phrase match increases relevancy. The new modified broad match gives you the flexibility of broad match with the control of phrase match.

Broad match is useful because: “20% of the queries Google receives each day are ones we haven’t seen in at least 90 days, if at all?” – source.

While the fact that so many queries are unique often led people to using broad match – the returns often aren’t there. This new match type gives you some control over how a broad matched word can be matched.

To use this match type, go to your account and add a + (plus) symbol in front of one or more words in your keyword phrase. Then, the word/s with the +sign must either be in the query or a close variant must be in the query. A close variant is a misspelling (flor instead of floor), plural (flowers instead of flower), or stemmed version (running instead of run).

Keyword Possible Matches Notes
running +shoes running shoes
running shoe
tennis shoes
The word +shoes or it’s variant ‘shoe’ is in every query
+running +shoe running shoes
running shoe
run shoe
shoes for running
Both +shoe and +running must be in the query or have a variant in the query
+extra +wide running +shoes Extra wide running shoes
Extra wide exercise shoes
Extra wide walking shoes
All the words are matched or closely matched except for ‘running’

The use of the new modified broad match will help expand your possible matches while still keeping those same matches under control. Broad match and negative keywords do work well  together, and this new match type will open up some new possibilities for broad and negative match combinations. Just remember that these new matches will still not convert higher than your exact match keywords.

If you wish to try this out, I’d suggest picking a few select ad groups where you are having problems gaining the exposure you desire, and then following these steps:

  • Create a new ad group using those same keywords with the new plus modifiers
  • If the old ad group has all broad match, then set a higher CPC for these new match types
  • If the old ad group has all exact and phrase match, then set a lower CPC for these new match types
  • Let the ad group run and collect some data
  • Run the search query report examining these two ad groups and their variations
  • Set appropriate bids based upon conversions

The reason to create a new ad group in this example is that you can only see search query data at the ad group level. While you can see the match type; you cannot see the keyword and match type combination that triggered a query. Over time, you might get rid of one of these ad groups and combine the keywords back into a single ad group. However, this is a new match type and there are bound to be some odd combinations that you will be shown for.

When trying out a brand new function with AdWords, it can be useful to look at the new features in isolation from other variables.

Learn More About AdWords

Knowing about modified broad match is just the beginning. The way you structure your match types is crucial in ensuring you are controlling budgets and that Google is showing the correct keyword for any query.

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  1. Alex Cohen
    May 11, 2010 at 8:54 am · Reply

    Hey Brad,

    I remember you mentioning this at SES. I’m so glad it made it out of beta.

    I’m curious: have you found the queries to be less crazy than broad match? Are they still doing session based retargeting with this match type or is that limited to “regular” broad match?

    Hopefully, they’ll roll the beta out to the US as well. FYI – you can see query next to keyword and match type in ClickEquations.


    • Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
      May 11, 2010 at 11:47 am · Reply


      The control over the queries is much better. But then it really depends on how you do matching. If you do +shoes then you can still show for anything with shoe or shoes in it. If you do something like +shoes +red +running then you might still see some odd queries like ‘how do i paint my running shoes red’.

      I’ve seen a lot less session based matches – but there have been some. I think that session matches aren’t going away anytime soon due to the possible revenue.

  2. James Svoboda
    May 11, 2010 at 10:26 am · Reply

    Brad, Is this only live in the UK and Canada? It appears to be as we have only been able to add the modifiers to a Canadian account we are working on.

    • Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
      May 11, 2010 at 11:49 am · Reply


      I think there’s some confusion on this one.

      You can go to any account and add +keyword. If the +plus is working then it’ll be the new modified broad match. If it’s not working, then it appears to be a typical keyword with a +sign in front of it and is being matched based upon a broad match word with a plus sign (not modified broad match).

      Google needs to clarify in the interface a bit better which is being used: a keyword with a plus symbol or a match type. However, it would not surprise me if more accounts had access to this than what was announced.

  3. Aaron Putnam
    May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am · Reply

    I’ve lost track of how many times I needed a “wildcard” keyword match setting like this in the past. Too bad it’s only live in Canada and the UK. Looking forward to getting my hands on this!

  4. Bonnie Schwartz
    July 16, 2010 at 10:23 am · Reply

    This is the best thing to happen to adwords since the Search Query report. I love Google. Every time I think hey need something they eventually develop it.

  5. Dan PPCPROZ
    July 28, 2010 at 8:40 am · Reply

    i would hope that the new kw type bmm? not need to place a + in front of the kw?

  6. Chad Summerhill
    August 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm · Reply

    Great info, Brad!

    I recently made a FREE Excel download for making modified broad match versions of your keywords. Maybe your readers will find it useful.

    Chad’s site is now offline.

  7. Calculate Marketing
    October 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm · Reply

    Hi Brad,

    I recently did some analysis on the performance of modified broad match keywords which you may find interesting.

    Not only did modified broad match keywords generally exhibit higher CTRs (largely to to their increased relevancy and focus), but modified broad match keywords also tended to have lower CPCs.

    Like everyone else, I welcome the new modified broad match and am confident of its use to improve campaign performance.


    • Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
      October 22, 2010 at 6:16 am · Reply

      Interesting stats. Thanks for sharing.

  8. eparker
    March 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm · Reply

    Can you expand a bit on why you would do this?
    – If the old ad group has all broad match, then set a higher CPC for these new match types
    – If the old ad group has all exact and phrase match, then set a lower CPC for these new match types

  9. brad
    March 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm · Reply

    Google shows the highest ad rank ad (QS x max CPC) on a search result – not necessarily the most restrictive match. Therefore, you need to control which match type is displayed so your metrics are accurate. The easiest way to control it is to set different CPCs by match types.

    In addition, exact match should be the highest converting word, then phrase, modified, and broad. You can read more about that here >

  10. ppcproz
    November 10, 2012 at 10:25 am · Reply

    I’ve more or less forsaken phrase match and regular broad match since modified broad match became first available. When managing multiple campaigns, it is imperative to setup and apply negative lists. Since doing this life has become easier, and modified broad match truly catches the long tail. At first I was adding negatives daily, but after a few awhile, once a week is enough. Its a great feeling to see such long tail traffic coming in, which is 99% relevant. I’d like it much more if adwords could simply enable a fourth match type, it gets tiresome adding + before each keyword. Thanks Brad for a great learning forum here.

  11. convertmoretrafficcom
    May 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm · Reply

    ppcproz said: “it gets tiresome adding + before each keyword.”

    It’s easy to add + before each keyword, in a couple of ways:

    1) Using Adwords editor, setup a keyword filter, or sort by match type, to show broad match terms.

    2) Use search and replace to replace every space in each broad match term, with a space and then a + sign.

    If you prefer to keep the broad match terms, use the “duplicate matching terms” feature.

    3) Then use the “append text to selected items” feature to add a + sign to the beginning of the new broad match modified terms.

    ~ Marty Foley

  12. amitramani
    August 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the informative note. One question:
    Does this apply at all to Product Listing Ads (PLA)? Since in PLAs we do not pick keywords, is there any thing we can use from this change in PLAs?

  13. andykuiper
    September 4, 2013 at 11:36 am · Reply

    Thanks brad 🙂

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