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Google makes another significant update to the matching behaviour of the match type. And this time it is Phrase Match!

Traditionally a phrase match keyword would match to a search term written in the same order. For example “cotton shirts” would match with men’s cotton shirts or cotton shirts for boys but not with shirts that are made of cotton or shirts and skirts in soft cotton.

But post the announcement, phrase match will start reaching to even the broad match modifier traffic, while maintaining the order sequence. Here is an example:

Source: Google Ads

Here is another explanation provided by Google

This change means that the keyword will not match when the order changes and loses its meaning. The order in which the keyword has been added will be respected especially when it isn’t meaning is important.

For example, if the keyword is “leather bags”, it will be equivalent to +leather +bags, the following case scenario can be witnessed withe the new phrase match type:

Search QueryBroad Match ModifierPhrase Match
leather bags for womenYESYES
rexin bags and leather jacket for womenYESNO
leather jackets and bagsYESYES

Here is the timeline on when the changes will start materialising:

1) Starting mid-February, both phrase match and broad match modifier keywords will begin transitioning to the new matching behavior

2) In July, advertisers will no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords

We also looked into how PPCers have been responding to this change:

Google has also made additional keyword changes that said:

Keyword matching is now more predictable: an exact match keyword that is identical to a query is now always preferred as long as it’s eligible to match. This gives you more control over which keyword matches to a search, and can help reduce account complexity

Broad match now looks at additional signals in your account to deliver more relevant searches. When paired with Smart Bidding, these broad match signals–which include landing pages, keywords in your ad group, and more–can help you unlock new opportunities for your business. 

The year has kickstarted with a major update. Let us wait and see how this change impacts overall campaign performance

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