Google Ads Keyword Match Types

Google Ads Keyword Match Types: Choosing the Right Targeting Approach

One of the key aspects of optimizing Google Ads campaigns is choosing the right keyword match types. These match types determine how closely a user’s search query needs to match your chosen keywords for your ads to appear.

In this blog post, we will explore the various Google Ads keyword match types offered and provide insights on how to choose the right targeting approach to maximize the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.

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Broad Match 

Broad match is the default match type in Google Ads and provides the widest reach. When you select broad match, your ads will be eligible to appear for a wide range of search queries, including synonyms, variations, and relevant phrases.

While this match type offers expansive visibility, it also has the potential to generate impressions and clicks for less relevant search terms. Businesses should exercise caution when using Broad Match to avoid unnecessary ad spend and focus on refining their targeting to improve campaign performance.

Modified Broad Match 

Modified broad match allows you to have more control over the search queries triggering your ads while still maintaining a wider reach compared to other match types.

By adding a plus sign (+) before one or more keywords in your phrase, you can specify that those keywords must be present in the user’s search query for your ad to show. This match type helps strike a balance between Broad reach and targeted relevance, making it a popular choice for advertisers.

Phrase Match 

Phrase match allows you to target a more specific audience by showing your ads to users searching for a specific phrase or close variations of it. By enclosing your keyword phrase in quotation marks, you can ensure that your ads are triggered only when the search query includes that specific phrase.

Phrase match provides a good balance between reach and precision, allowing you to target users who have a higher intent for your products or services.

Exact Match 

Exact match is the most precise keyword match type available in Google Ads. By placing your keyword phrase within brackets, you can ensure that your ads are triggered only when the search query precisely matches your chosen keywords.

Exact match provides the highest level of control over your targeting and allows you to reach users who are actively searching for your exact keywords. However, it’s important to note that with Exact Match, your reach will be more limited compared to broader match types.

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Broad Match Modifier vs. Phrase Match vs. Exact Match 

Choosing between Broad Match modifier, phrase match, and exact match largely depends on your campaign objectives, budget, and the level of targeting precision you require.

Broad Match Modifier is ideal when you want a balance between reach and relevance, as it offers a wider net with some control over the search queries triggering your ads. It can be a good starting point for new campaigns or when you’re trying to identify new keywords to target.

Phrase match, on the other hand, is suitable when you want to capture a more targeted audience while still allowing for variations in the search query. This match type ensures that your ads appear when users search for your specified phrase or close variations of it. It offers a higher level of precision compared to Broad Match Modifier and is useful for campaigns targeting specific product names, services, or long-tail keywords.

Exact match is the most focused match type, perfect for campaigns that require maximum control over keyword targeting. By using exact match, your ads will only be shown to users who search for your exact keyword phrase. This match type is particularly effective for businesses with a clear understanding of their target audience and specific keywords that are proven to drive conversions.

It’s important to note that the choice of keyword match type may vary based on your advertising goals and the stage of your campaign. Here are a few scenarios where each match type can be beneficial:

  • Broad Match Modifier: If you’re launching a new campaign or exploring new keywords, Broad Match Modifier can help you cast a wider net and gather valuable insights about search queries that are relevant to your business. It allows you to identify new keyword opportunities and refine your targeting strategy based on performance data.
  • Phrase Match: When you have a better understanding of your target audience and want to focus on specific keyword phrases, phrase match can help you capture users who are actively searching for those phrases or variations of them. This match type ensures that your ads appear to users who have higher intent, resulting in more qualified leads and potential conversions.
  • Exact Match: For campaigns with well-defined target keywords and a desire for maximum precision, Exact Match is the way to go. By using brackets around your keywords, you can ensure that your ads are triggered only by users who search for those exact terms. This match type is ideal for businesses with a limited budget or niche offerings, as it allows you to maintain strict control over ad spending while reaching highly targeted prospects.

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Best Practices for Choosing Keyword Match Types:

Understand your campaign goals:

Clearly define your campaign objectives and consider your target audience. Are you aiming for brand awareness, website traffic, or lead generation? This will help you determine the appropriate match type to use.

Use a combination of match types:

Rather than relying solely on one match type, consider using a combination of Broad Match Modifier, phrase match, and exact match. This approach allows you to cover a wide range of search queries while maintaining control and precision where necessary.

Regularly review and refine your keyword list:

Continuously monitor the performance of your keywords and make adjustments accordingly. Identify irrelevant or low-performing keywords and exclude them from your campaigns. Similarly, identify high-performing keywords and consider adding them as exact match keywords for better control.

Leverage negative keywords:

Utilize negative keywords to exclude search terms that are irrelevant to your business. This helps improve the overall relevance and quality of your traffic, reducing unnecessary ad spend.

Monitor and analyze performance:

Regularly analyze the performance metrics of your campaigns, including click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment. This data will provide insights into which match types are driving the most successful outcomes and guide future optimizations.


Choosing the right keyword match type is crucial for running successful Google Ads campaigns. It allows you to strike a balance between reach and relevance, ensuring that your ads are shown to users who are most likely to convert.

By understanding the nuances of each match type and aligning them with your campaign goals, target audience, and budget, you can create highly effective advertising campaigns that drive meaningful results for your business. Regular monitoring and refinement of your keyword list, along with leveraging negative keywords, will further enhance the performance and efficiency of your campaigns.

Remember, selecting the appropriate match type is an ongoing process that requires analysis, optimization, and adaptation to maximize the potential of your Google Ads endeavors.

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