Google Ads Is Shelving Broad Match Modified, What Gives?
Change is a constant, and that is even more so for the digital world driven by technological advances and discoveries. In the latest change to affect Google Ads, the tech giant has taken a drastic stance. It is time to say goodbye to Broad Match Modified (BMM) for businesses and reach searchers.
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What Exactly Is Google Changing?
In just two short weeks, we will no longer benefit from utilising Broad Match Modified instances. Instead, it will be folded into Phrase Match. There are certain caveats to that as Google maintains it will take into consideration word order when the meaning is essential. How that will translate for businesses and advertisers, remain to be seen.
This next step has been long coming. With recent changes being made to match types when it comes to similar variants, Google aims to simplify the process even further. By combining the BMM match type with Phrase Match, there will be an overlap.
If you still prefer Broad Match Modified keywords’ familiar comforts, you can still use them until July. At that point, no new BMM keywords can be added. Your existing ones will continue to serve, but will be matched based on the new parameters set.
In Google’s perspective, the change is being implemented to help brands save time managing their accounts as fewer specific keywords are being used.
How Does It Work?
At the core of it, it means that Phrase Match will now take the place of BMM. The tweak to its matching capabilities will allow for it to reach searches that BMM previously covered. By streamlining the keyword management as a whole, you will be able to cover a majority of searches that advertisers tend to show for.
All of your current Phrase Match keywords will start bringing in traffic from the traditional BMM areas. As a result, less traffic is to be expected from BMM keywords starting from mid-February. More traffic should arrive via Phrase Match keywords.
More importantly, keywords will still be matched to the search term if a specific order is in place.
Preparing For The Change
With the change being rolled out in stages, nothing likely has to be done for the immediate future. Advertisers have been advised to monitor the Recommendations section in their accounts for notices about duplicate keywords. This will allow for effective pruning and help save time when it comes to account management.
All performance data should remain intact, and you still have some time before making the permanent switch to the new system.
Next Steps To Take
While it is likely that most of us are accustomed to using a mixture of Exact, Broad Match Modified, and Phrase Match types, the new change requires a different approach.
Go over your accounts and determine how keywords can be optimised for Exact and Phrase Match. Combining your expertise with Google’s guidelines will hopefully be a smooth transition into the new system.
As mentioned above, no new BMM keywords can be created after July, so an alteration in strategy is needed if you want to take full advantage of Phrase Match and Exact Match instead.
By prioritising Phrase Match in the coming months, you will be in a better position to deal with unexpected issues. The early adoption will provide a platform of growth congruent with Google’s tweak, as well as allow you more time to focus on enhancing your strategy.
The change will likely inform your budget moving forward as well. If the allocation is done via match types, or broken down further by campaigns or ad groups, it is time to take stock. By keeping a close eye on performance numbers, you can stay agile. Optimising and changing budgets will be commonplace during the initial stages of this change.
As with most strategies, the more data you have, the better. Be sure to keep an eye on your search term reports, the impact of the change can be more easily discerned via hard numbers and statistics.
Doubts Remain About Broad Match Modified Changes
Despite what has been put forward by Google to explain the switch, it is still of paramount importance to maintain a critical eye over the proceedings. It is not the first time that Google has changed its match types’ intent in recent years. The constant tweaking has certainly muddled the exact conditions for each.
While the company emphasised that the move is for the advertisers’ benefit, this may feel counterintuitive to those on the ground. After all, most advertisers have likely spent plenty of time and effort optimising keywords for the desired results. It is likely that an overhaul will be needed in order to ward off new unprofitable keywords.
For those running ad campaigns, the nuances of word order variations are not exactly reflected well when it comes to bidding. Google is likely to match keywords based on their own internal signals, rather than ones put in place by advertisers. The same applies even within the same ad group.
The jury’s still out on whether this will be a boon or a bane for advertisers. If it does what it is advertised to do and help save us time and effort, that is great. However, if it is the opposite, it could adversely impact the advertising industry when it comes to search in ways we have not yet fully understood.