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Broad Match Modifier is Changing. Here’s What You Need to Know

Guess what!? Google is making changes again. But given how regularly they’ve been making changes in recent history, this should really come as no surprise. This time, Google Ads has made changes to the functionality of their keyword match types for Search ads. In an attempt to increase the quality of search results, they are removing Broad Match Modifier keywords.

We’ve received some queries about it from clients, so we decided to answer some questions about the change and what it will mean for your business’s paid search campaigns.

What are Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier Keywords?

Broad match keywords are used in ads to target searches that are related to a keyword but may not contain all the components of that keyword. This allows ads to reach a broad audience but can be subject to irrelevant search results.

Broad match modifier (BMM) is an advanced keyword matching option within Google Ads. Although it is being phased out, it’s still important to know how it worked. This setting functions similarly to the default broad match type, but provides more control over who sees the ads and where ad spend goes, compared to the default broad match option. By placing a plus sign (+), BMM shows ads if the keyword or keywords are searched in the exact or in variant form. This also includes synonyms, misspelled words, and other related searches. This match type also increased the likelihood for a higher click-through and conversion rate.

Phrase match signals to Google that words must appear in a certain order by adding “quotations” around a keyword phrase. Phrase match is more targeted than broad match, but more flexible than exact match.

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What’s Happening to Broad Match Modifier Keywords?

In Google’s latest update, the broad match modifier keyword will now function as a phrase match keyword.

In their email announcement, “Making it easier to reach the right customers on Search,” Google says, “phrase match will begin to incorporate behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach relevant customers.” Google also notes it will “continue to respect word order when it’s important to meaning.”

In their announcement, Google provided a visual with a couple of search examples including keyword matching before and after the BMM/phrase match combination.

broad match modifier example

In other words, Google is updating the functionality of phrase match to function like the old broad match modified searches.

Starting in July 2021, this new version of phrase match will fully replace BMM which means advertisers will no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords. Instead, advertisers can use phrase match for keywords that they would have previously used BMM.

Google’s announcement can be found here.

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How to Prepare for the Change

At CMDS, we have learned to adapt to the numerous changes Google likes to throw our way and have already rolled out a number of changes to our client’s accounts. Here are six quick steps to prepare your Google Ads account for the BMM and phrase match transition:

Review your current keyword set to identify any phrase and BMM keywords.
Analyze past search query reports to identify high volume search terms that may be blocked by new phrase match type.
Label duplicates in advance and analyze performance trends. Consider removing duplicate keywords.
Monitor keyword reports and performance fluctuations from this change. Make necessary adjustments along the way.
Launch broad keyword campaigns along with smart bidding strategies to expand reach.
Diversify your marketing efforts so you’re not solely dependent on PPC. Consider SEO, social media ads, etc.

Evolve with CMDS

While some may feel worried about the broad match modifier change, we’re armed and ready for the change. Considering this follows a trend of changes that Google has made in the past, we expect more changes to follow. It’s all about thinking outside of the box and innovating new ways to achieve top results for our clients’ campaigns. Instead of fixating solely on the specificity of the keyword, strategies, such as customer intent, search themes, negative keyword lists and PPC target audience campaigns, can elevate results without needing to change your budget.

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Keeping up with the endless digital marketing changes doesn’t have to add to the load. Our NJ marketing agency has been in the industry since 2002; we’ve helped our clients evolve with plenty of online changes over the years.