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Updates to phrase and broad match modified keywords

Google has just announced their changes to phrase and broad match modified (BMM) keywords.

What's changing Starting on February 18th, phrase and BMM keywords will begin to match the same user searches. With this updated matching behaviour, ads may show on searches that include the same or more specific meaning as your keyword. This can lead to an increase in traffic on any phrase match keywords and a slight decrease in traffic on any BMM keywords.

To simplify keyword match types, this new phrase match will fully replace BMM by July. Your existing BMM keywords will continue to work, and you can use phrase match keywords for new keywords you would have previously added as BMM.

With these improvements, you can reach the searches you want just by using phrase match - without worrying about the searches you don't want.


Let's say you are a moving company wanting to reach people interested in moving from one destination to another. With the updated phrase match, you can reach people looking to move from Joburg to Cape Town, for example, without showing up for people looking to move from Joburg to Durban.

Keyword = "moving services Joburg to Cape Town" or +moving +services +Joburg +to +Cape Town

Next Steps:

  • Mid-February, both phrase match and broad match modifier keywords will begin to transition to this new matching behaviour. Because this behaviour will be applied to both match types, you won’t have to take any immediate action—you’ll keep your performance data and have no need to migrate your keywords.

  • July, once the new behaviour has been rolled out globally, you’ll no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords. However, existing broad match modifier keywords will continue to serve under the new behaviour. That’s why starting now, we recommend creating new keywords in phrase match going forward.

Google will notify us of any rollouts and further information: Google Ads Help Center.

We can help you with the transition.


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