August 19, 2018

New Matching Behavior for Phrase and Exact Match Keywords in AdWords

Google announced today via the Inside AdWords blog that, from around mid-may, exact match and phrase match will actually have the option to no longer be as strict as they are now,  so an ‘exact match’ may also include very close variants:- misspellings, plurals / singulars, stemmings, accents and abbreviations. Wow. (As in ‘WTF are you doing Google?’ Oh yeah right, increasing yields.)

Interesting move for Google as it will no doubt increase impressions inventory and clicks revenue for certain keyword / account segments, but I would be careful when deciding whether to actually turn this on as it may not be the right move for all account types and verticals. Especially if you have already invested time in building out a kick-butt exact match campaign!!

If you’re only running broad match campaigns at the moment, then no stress, Google already love your money you long time.

Naturally, this will actually work well to help expand exact match impressions, but will it maintain a laser focus on intent and relevancy???  err. no. (which is why you built an exact match campaign – right?)

I’m seeing the setting available in AdWords now – But Google have said that the feature will not go live until mid May.

What was not clear from the Inside Adwords blog post was whether this setting would actually be the new default campaign setting, but looking at a live account now, the modified exact and phrase match (MEXPHAM for short!) looks to be disabled by default. phew, but do check your own exact / phrase match campaigns.

Screen shot of the options in campaign setting tab FYI!

## Update: I just checked another account and an exact match campaign defaulted to ‘Include plurals, misspellings and other close variants’. Cheeky Google.


About Leigh Hanney

Leigh Hanney is a marketing consultant helping companies optimise and execute digital marketing strategy and improve ROI.
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  1. Hi Leigh
    Yeah – this is a concerning move by Google. I believe that it is a financially driven change, no surprises there though.
    BTW – it is going to be a default setting according to their announcement so will need to be manually switched off in the campaign settings if you do not want it.
    I put some thoughts and ideas in a blog post earlier today on this:
    I hope that you find them interesting.

  2. Thanks Joel – and great post by you too. And yes, they can try and sugar coat it, but it seems as though it’s all about maximising their revenue from available inventory…


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