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Broad Match Modifiers are Here!

As promised, Google’s Broad Match Modifiers have arrived for use in the US!

Mark your calendars, folks, this is a BIG day.

Google’s graphic presents the product very clearly:

By simply adding a “+” to the beginning of any word in a keyword phrase, that word or its very close relatives becomes a required element in the user search string. BMM can be used on multiple words within a keyword phrase, and using BMM on all words in a phrase gets us back to good old broad match from 2004/early 2005.

Because we complained so loudly for so long, and because we have a reputation for using the tools they provide in smart ways, Google invited us to participate in the Beta test of this product (they did not, sadly, see fit to name it after me…GMM has a nice ring!) and we are duly excited.

There will be a temptation among some to simply use this as a cost-cutting knife. Some will simply stick a plus sign in front of each “token” and be done with it. And, by trimming out the least targeted traffic, costs will drop and will drop much more than the corresponding drop in sales.

However, we’d argue that if a broad match campaign met its efficiency targets before then making it more efficient through use of BMM misses the opportunity to maximize sales within the target efficiency metric. Simply turning the current Expanded Broad Match (“EBM”) into Good-Old Broad Match will allow advertisers to raise bids and capture more of the higher quality traffic by avoiding the lower quality traffic.

Moreover, BMM will help advertisers reduce self-competition to some degree, forcing Google to serve the most relevant ad, not just the highest bid ad that’s in the relevancy ballpark. This will, in turn produce higher CTR and higher conversion rates as the landing pages are more targeted to the user’s search.

We advise caution with respect to doing away with EBM entirely. Some of the expanded matching is incredibly good, catching typos in model numbers and misspellings that no one could anticipate. The key is to use negatives to filter out as much of the lousy traffic as you can, and bid the appropriate amount for the traffic, given that it is less valuable than closer matches.

We’d also advise folks who have sworn off broad match entirely to experiment with BMM campaigns. Trying to catch every permutation and word ordering through exact and phrase match is impossible — and this coming from a firm legendary for being OCD when it comes to keyword creation :-) — so using BMM to expand the field should help.

Whether adding an extra campaign version to the layer-cake is the best approach or something less complex, testing will prove what’s best for each client.

Time spent tuning these new controls will pay significant dividends.

Thanks again to the Google Team for building a brilliant product!

Comments
29 Responses to “Broad Match Modifiers are Here!”
  1. Google has a way of ALWAYS answering my prayers.

    This is the best thing since the launch of the search query report

  2. John Ellis says:

    Will or when will this new option be available in AdWords Editor?

    Thanks for the great article,
    -John

  3. Tony Nguyen says:

    Tried it for a month now and it has worked great. Conversion is also good.

  4. Thanks for your comments Bonnie and Tony.

    John, it’s not actually a “match type” per se. You simply stick + signs in front of Tokens within an existing Broad matched keyword phrase.

    I could be mistaken as my team doesn’t let me near actual client accounts anymore :-)

  5. Kurt Krake says:

    Hi George – long time no talk! As you have already been experimenting with the match type, any advice for a structure where multiple match types are running on the same term? Thoughts on bidding this versus phrase and exact? Its a great limitation of broad match but its still broad so you have to keep bids under control.

  6. Steve Peterson says:

    Great article.

    I was hoping to use the new BMM with a negative keyword, just like you can in a search query.
    For example,

    +blueberry +coffee -cake

    But it looks like that may not work according to the FAQ.

    http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=175280

  7. Moby says:

    about time they added more types of match, when will be release date to the rest of us…?

  8. Hi Kurt, great to reconnect!

    Structurally, we’d make the case that whether they’re in the same adgroup or separate campaigns probably doesn’t make much difference, do what’s comfortable for you.

    The quality of traffic is somewhere between exact match and extended broad match, just as you’d expect, so setting bids on those variations that are somewhere in-between is a good place to start.

    As with all things, your mileage may vary, so we’d suggest testing and tweaking to find the sweet-spot.

    George

  9. Steve,

    I love the way your mind works! I don’t think they’ve set up their systems to handle that syntax, but it’s beautiful. I guess the limitation might be that you may want to have hundreds of negatives attached to each keywords and that would make for a very long keyword :-)

  10. Hi Moby, The initial launch in May was for the UK and Canada, so it’s already available there. Not sure about Australia, or whether it’s available for languages besides English.

  11. Jeff says:

    This is a very smart move on the part of Google. I’ve been using broad match modifiers in beta for several months on one of our clients’ accounts, and we have had some real success. Where phrase match is too restrictive but irrelevant traffic is a concern, broad match modifiers seem to work very well. It’s also easier to build out “phrase match style” coverage with a smaller initial inventory of keywords.

    This will also be really helpful in reassuring clients who have been burned by poorly managed broad match in the past.

    Glad you are bringing some attention to this, because it’s a very big deal!

  12. Jenny Tour says:

    I think BMM is a huge step for AdWords Advertising. Does anyone know if it just started in the US now or are users able to use this match type worldwide from now on?

  13. Rachel says:

    We’re testing some ad groups with this, but our results don’t mirror what’s showing in Google’s example. Modified broad match ads are being served for querieswith extra words, (example: formal evening shoes) but not for minor misspellings (example: frmal shoes). My Google account team hasn’t been able to offer an explanation yet – is anyone else experiencing this also?

  14. Rachel, I’ll ask folks around here if they’re seeing the same thing.

    I don’t know the answer, but that’s never stopped me from speculating before, so…

    It could be that the particular misspellings you’re looking for aren’t common enough for Google to have learned the connection. It could also be that more than one of your ads broad matches to the search query and Google picked a different ad of yours for the auction that didn’t come up on the first or second page of sponsored listings.

    Could be that it just isn’t working as advertised :-)

    George

  15. Nima says:

    We have been using it for a while and it has proved very useful specially for niche B2B campaigns.

  16. Jun says:

    I have the same results as Rachel. I think George is right though in a way about the connection thing. In some instances the BMM picks up the misspellings while in others it doesn’t. As an example publis book is picked up by the BMM but publish bok is not being picked up.

  17. Naveen says:

    We have used it. its a really good and specially for all users.But it has a huge steps for a while

  18. Hi George,

    I’m a little late to the conversation (just got a direct mail piece from RKG about BMM), but thought your readers might find this Free Excel tool useful:

    http://www.chadsummerhill.com/google-adwords-modified-broad-match-builder-free-download/

  19. Thanks Chad! Very cool tool!

  20. Jason R. says:

    @Chad / @George: the Excel file is helpful, but there is a more easy free tool available. It transforms normal keywords to modified broad in seconds online! It’s free to use: http://www.broadmatchmodifier.com/

    Good luck!

    Cheers,

    Jason

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