Google AdWords Introduces Major Changes to Keyword Match Types

Starting next month, Google are introducing major changes in the way existing and future AdWords campaigns work.

Google is attempting to make improvements to exact and phrase match search terms. From mid May onwards, exact and phrase match keywords will include a wide range of other variants by default. This means your chosen keywords will act like modified broad match search terms, serving up ads for a wide range of searches, including misspellings, acronyms, accents, stemmings, abbreviations, and singular and plural forms of the term for which you are paying.

Ever since the introduction of AdWords, if you wanted your ad to appear for variations of your keywords, you would use a broad match type. Exact match terms would only trigger ads for search queries which exactly matched your particular keyword and phrase match terms would allow your ad to appear when user searches contained your chosen keywords.

Google claim the change will improve the way AdWords campaigns work. Research conductors with advertisers has shown a three percent rise in clicks when the new change was implemented. However, Google have also stated that results will vary with different advertisers, so it’s highly possible the change could eat into advertiser profits. Those with smaller budgets will be particularly vulnerable as these broad variations could include a large number of irrelevant search queries.

These ‘improvements’ are essentially taking away advertisers’ ability to focus on a specific term. It appears Google are taking away advertiser’s control of when their ads appear simply to increase their profits.

Fortunately, there is a way to opt out of the change:

  • Go to advanced settings
  • Click on keyword matching options
  • Select exact and phrase matching
  • Enable ‘do not include close variants’


Unsure about these new changes? KPI Business Services are Google AdWords certified partners. As PPC experts, we can manage your campaign and monitor your account, keeping track of all irrelevant variants of your search terms so you’re only paying for keywords which relate to your products and services.

At KPI, our aim is to keep your AdWords campaigns profitable. Contact us today for more information.

About Hannah Keane

Hannah is a member of the copywriting and SEO team at KPI. She enjoys ice skating and has a little dog called Hallie. Google+
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