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Google Ads July Update: Broad Match Modified or Broken Match Modified?

July 31, 2019

Google Broad Match Modified Update

On 31st July 2019, Google released an update for Google Ads. They let us know that “In the coming weeks, broad match modifier and phrase match keywords will also begin matching to words within the search query that share the same meaning as the keyword

Google has told us that these changes are to “help you reach more consumers without the need for exhaustive keyword lists”. However, I’m sceptical.

What are “Broad Match Modifier” keywords?

Broad Match Modifier keywords help our clients learn the ways in which potential customers search for products/services in their industry. We extract information from search query reports to add new, un-discovered exact match keywords that offer a higher volume of searches. Without BMM we would potentially never have found these phrases.

What does this change mean?

Now, the idea behind this change is to cut out some of the work for advertisers who are trying to find new ways that users search for their services. Sounds excellent right?

Wrong. The change will do exactly what it says on the tin, but in a huge number of instances it’s not going to be a good thing. An example, based on one of our clients, is the following:

Keyword Impressions Clicks CTR Avg. CPC Cost Conversions CPA Conv. Rate
[nottingham student accommodation] 7367 903 12.21% £3.03 £2,739.80 45 £60.82 4.99%
[student accommodation nottingham] 6515 540 8.29% £3.14 £1,696.81 14 £121.20 2.59%

Both of the above keywords were optimised in exactly the same manner, utilising the keyword itself as the 1st headline for the ads. The difference in results is, to say the least, dramatic. Less that 1/3rd of the number of conversions (granted for a lower spend), a much lower CTR and conversion rate, and worst of all a CPA of more than double.

Our thoughts

Using Google’s new BMM rules, both of these phrases will be captured by a BMM keyword of +nottingham +student +accommodation which begs the question… Is Google truly looking at their product through the eyes of the advertiser, or through the eyes of their accountants?

I must admit that as more and more new releases happen for Google Ads, from automated bidding through to new ad types, all of which I’ve tried, tested against my own best practices, and none of which performed (yet), I’m beginning to believe that Google really has lost sight of what advertisers need.

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Unsure of Exact, Broad, Phrase match and everything in between when it comes to PPC?
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