Keyword match types are a way for advertisers to determine how closely a search query must match their keyword.  When using different match types you can create large campaigns that will drive a lot of impressions and clicks while still keeping campaigns narrow enough to only drive impressions and clicks for the most relevant searches. The more precise the match, the higher your click through rate (CTR) is likely to be.  However, the trade-off is often fewer impressions.


I won’t discuss the different match types and the way they get exposed on the different search engines (to learn more about this topic read this blog post) but the chart below nicely illustrates how keyword match types work.


There is no rule of thumb when it comes to choosing the appropriate match type for a keyword because each campaign has different goals and needs. Here are a few unique ways to use keyword match type to your advantage.


    • Follow a broad-to-narrow strategy - Start with broad matches, and once the campaign collects statistics, look at the keyword details to determine further action. If your keyword is getting exposed on a word with high statistics (impressions, clicks and click through rates) make sure that it’s in your campaign, in some form- add it as a “phrase” or [exact] match. When you add keywords from the keyword details list, as suggested above, make sure you’re adding the keyword to the correct ad-group. It’s not enough to have it in the campaign, if you add it in the relevant place it will improve the total quality score for the whole ad-group.


    • Use different match types on the same keyword – This way you will make sure you’re not losing impressions and clicks by making the campaign too narrow or waste money by making the campaign too broad. Test the different match types and optimize the campaign based on the results.


    • Use a common misspell on competitive words – Your quality score for the narrow keywords is set according to the quality score of the exact keywords match type. A neat trick to use if you have a very competitive word (for example – online casino) is to find a common misspell (through the keyword detail you can see search queries and the misspellings people commonly make) and add it to your list. It will be more affordable and get a high quality score and you’ll still get the impressions of people looking to gamble online.


    • Use a combination of modified broad and broad- If you have long tail keyword phrases with a few words, you can choose to place part of the keyword phrase in a broad modified match type and leave the rest of the keyword as a broad match type (for example: use the modified broad plus sign in front of the brand name and leave the rest of the keyword with no plus sign (for example: +Massive +Rain lamp shade. Massive is the brand name, rain is the name of the collection – together they have another meaning. People searching for massive rain are not necessarily interested in lamps, they could be looking in to weather. Offering this keyword in a combination of modified broad and broad can help control those impressions.


    • Look for negative keywords in the keyword details - you’re looking through the list and can see you’re getting impressions for the “manual” or “free trial”? Add those to your list of negative keywords.


    • Remember that negative keywords also have match types - They can be added as broad, phrase or exact just like regular keywords, so make sure you’re adding them with the correct match type. Add a broad negative keyword and you’ll prevent your keyword from appearing in places where it is relevant. If you’re not careful you can kill your campaign.