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Difference Between Broad Match Vs Phrase Match Keywords In Google Ads

When it comes to running successful Google Ads campaigns, selecting the correct keywords is critical. Two frequently used keyword match types are broad match and phrase match. Whilst both options have their merits, understanding the subtleties between the two can significantly impact the performance and efficacy of your ads.

Are you eager to know which match type is more suitable for your advertising goals? Well, let’s delve into the world of broad match and phrase match keywords in Google Ads and discover the key differences that can make or break your advertising success.

Definition of Broad Match

The definition of broad match in online advertising platforms is the default keyword matching option that allows adverts to reach the widest audience possible. When using broad match, adverts are displayed for any word in the key phrase, in any order. This means that adverts may appear for related terms that are not specifically included in the keyword. For example, if the keyword is ‘secondhand cars,’ the advert may still appear in searches like ‘cheap secondhand cars near me’ or ‘secondhand cheap cars.’ This flexibility in matching allows advertisers to reach a wider audience and potentially increase their visibility.

However, it is important to note that broad match may lead to lower conversion rates compared to more targeted match types like phrase match or exact match. This is because the broader reach of broad match may result in adverts being displayed to a less targeted audience. To mitigate this, it is crucial to carefully monitor search query reports and optimize the campaign accordingly to ensure relevance.

Despite its potential drawbacks, broad match can still be a valuable tool in a well-rounded advertising strategy. It is particularly suitable for smart bidding, as Google takes into account a user’s search activities, landing page content, and other keywords in the ad group to ensure somewhat related traffic. Ultimately, the decision to use broad match, phrase match, or other match types depends on the specific goals and objectives of the advertising campaign.

Definition of Phrase Match

Phrase match is a keyword match type that triggers adverts when a search query includes the precise phrase or close variations of it. This match type offers more control over which search queries trigger the adverts, making it suitable for specific and precise targeting.

Here are some key points to understand about phrase match:

  1. Targeted and Relevant Ad Impressions: Phrase match requires the search query to include the exact phrase or close variations, providing more targeted and relevant ad impressions compared to broad match. This assists in attracting users who are specifically searching for the products or services related to the keyword.
  2. Higher Click-Through Rates (CTRs): Due to the more precise targeting, phrase match generally has higher click-through rates (CTRs) compared to broad match. This implies that the traffic generated by phrase match is more qualified and likely to result in higher conversion rates.
  3. Better Control over Ad Impressions: Utilising phrase match allows advertisers to achieve better control over their ad impressions. By specifying the exact phrase or close variations, they can ensure that their adverts are shown to users who are more likely to be interested in their offerings.

Similarities Between Broad Match and Phrase Match

Broad match and phrase match, two keyword match types in Google Ads, exhibit several similarities in terms of targeting and ad impressions. Despite their distinct differences, comprehending the commonalities between these match types is crucial for effectively optimising your ad campaigns.

One common feature of broad match and phrase match is their allowance for variations in word order. This implies that your ad may be displayed for search queries that rearrange the sequence of your keywords. For instance, if your broad match keyword is ‘blue shoes,’ your ad may be displayed for a search query like ‘shoes blue.’ In the same way, with phrase match, your ad may be triggered by searches that present your keyword phrase in a different order, as long as the meaning stays intact.

Another shared characteristic is that both match types can display ads for related keywords. With broad match, your ads can be displayed for searches that are related to your keywords, even if they do not exactly contain those keywords. Similarly, phrase match allows for additional words before or after your keyword phrase, thus potentially expanding the reach of your ads to relevant searches.

To further illustrate the similarities between broad match and phrase match, consider the following table:

Match Type Allows Word Order Variations Shows Ads for Related Keywords
Broad Match Yes Yes
Phrase Match Yes Yes

Differences Between Broad Match and Phrase Match

One significant difference between broad match and phrase match keywords in Google Ads is their approach to keyword variations and specificity. Comprehending these differences is essential for advertisers to effectively target their audience and maximise their ad performance.

Here are the key differences between broad match and phrase match keywords:

Variations: Broad match keywords allow for a wider range of keyword variations, including synonyms, misspellings, related searches, and variations in word order. This gives advertisers greater reach but may also result in less precise targeting.

On the contrary, phrase match keywords only trigger ads when the search query includes the exact phrase or close variations of it. This offers advertisers a more specific targeting option.

Specificity: Broad match keywords provide a broader reach by showing ads for related searches and variations. This can be beneficial for advertisers looking to increase exposure and discover new keyword opportunities.

In contrast, phrase match keywords are more focused and show ads only for searches that include the exact phrase or close variations of it. This allows for more precise targeting and minimises the risk of irrelevant clicks.

Control: Broad match keywords offer less control over when ads are shown, as they can be triggered by a wide range of search queries. Advertisers can use negative keywords to exclude certain terms and refine targeting.

Phrase match keywords, on the other hand, provide more control as ads are only shown for specific search queries that include the exact phrase or close variations. This allows for tighter control over ad relevance and targeting.

Tips for Choosing Between Broad Match and Phrase Match

When choosing between broad match and phrase match keywords in Google Ads, advertisers ought to take into account several factors to guarantee the optimum results for their campaigns. Both match types boast their own merits and demerits, thus, comprehending the differences is vital for making an educated choice.

Here are a few tips to assist advertisers in picking between broad match and phrase match keywords:

Factors to Consider Broad Match Phrase Match
Reach High Moderate
Keyword Control Low Moderate
Ad Relevance Low High
  1. Reach: Broad match keywords encompass a wider reach as they can activate ads for a more comprehensive array of search enquiries. Conversely, phrase match keywords have a more targeted reach, presenting ads for search enquiries that incorporate the precise phrase.
  2. Keyword Control: Broad match keywords offer lesser control as the ad may appear for variations and associated searches. Phrase match keywords offer more control as the ad will only appear when the search enquiry includes the exact phrase.
  3. Ad Relevance: With broad match keywords, the ad might appear for searches that aren’t directly associated with the intended keyword. Contrarily, phrase match keywords ensure higher ad relevance by presenting the ad for search enquiries that include the exact keywords.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the 3 Types of Keyword Matching?

The three types of keyword matching in Google Ads are broad match, phrase match, and exact match. These matching types influence ad performance and necessitate constant monitoring and optimisation to select the most effective match type for a campaign.

What Is the Difference Between Broad Match and Exact Match Modifier?

The distinction between broad match and exact match modifier keywords is contingent upon their degree of specificity. Broad match permits a broader scope but might lead to less targeted traffic, whilst exact match modifier provides precise targeting but might restrict scope.

Should I Change My Keywords to Broad Match?

When deciding whether to alter your keywords to broad match in Google Ads, weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, assess if they coincide with your campaign goals, boost performance via strategies and negative keywords, observe and adapt for improved targeting.

What’s a Benefit of Using Broad Match Keywords?

Utilising broad match keywords in Google Ads provides the advantage of targeting a broader audience, escalating reach and impressions. It also furnishes insights into customer behaviour, aids in optimising advertisement performance, and bolsters brand awareness.


In conclusion, the principal difference between broad match and phrase match keywords in Google Ads resides in the level of specificity in targeting.

Broad match permits adverts to emerge for a vast spectrum of related search terms, reaching a larger audience but potentially resulting in less targeted traffic.

On the contrary, phrase match only allows adverts to emerge on search results that contain the exact keywords in the same order or with other words before or after, providing more specific targeting.