Google Ads: Keyword Match Update

Sam Martin-Ross
Sam Martin-Ross
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Google Ads Logo

In another move towards automating Google Ads, on Thursday Google announced that exact match keywords will now match to the intent of the keywords, not the keywords themselves. However whether this will prove beneficial to advertisers is unclear.

What has changed?

Any exact match keywords will now match to search queries that are different, but have the same intention. For example, the exact match keyword [yosemite camping] can now match to [campsites in yosemite].

Google Ads Update

Phrase, broad and broad match modifier keywords remain unchanged.

How will this impact account management?

In the short term, we’ll need to keep a much closer eye on search query reports. For now, we can’t be certain that exact match keywords will match to search terms with the same intention. This relies on the quality of Google’s machine learning, which will no doubt improve over time as advertisers ad negative keywords to feed it’s learning.

The alternative is to consider moving to phrase match or broad match modifier entirely. If you haven’t already, Google is only likely to make exact match less exact in the future,  and so moving over now could save further hassle down the line.

Why did Google make this change?

Google says this update is to enable advertisers to reach keywords they may not have in their account currently but that are still relevant, and it does achieve that to an extent. In practice this change also increases the number of bids exact keywords will enter, potentially increasing overall spend.