The Sunset of Broad Match Modifier Gives Google More Control, Not Advertisers

PPC advertisingIn mid-February, Google Ads began to phase out broad match modifier (BMM). While Google states that this change will give advertisers “more control and better reach,” this move is in line with Google’s push toward automation, and ultimately gives Google more control, not advertisers.

Advertisers desperately need more control over their advertising campaigns, not less. SherloQ with IBM Watson can give advertisers and marketers control over their PPC advertising once again. More on that later...

Broad Match Modifier vs. Phrase Match

Let’s start with a brief overview of these two different match types.

Previously, broad match modifier signaled to Google which terms needed to be present in a consumer’s search query by putting a plus sign before the required keyword. With broad match modifier, the order of keywords didn’t matter. While similar to BMM, phrase match displays ads based on queries that include the designated keywords, which are notated in quotations. For phrase match, the order of the keywords matters, and Google has broadened targeting further by looking at the consumer’s search intent.

Going forward, there will be three keyword match type options: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Google will treat existing broad match modifier keywords as if they are phrase match, and expand to cover BMM traffic. Many PPC experts are in an uproar over this change, stating that while phrase match may be equal to BMM for some cases, that won’t be true all the time.

The Challenge

This is the fifth time since 2014 that Google has changed its keyword match type rules, which only adds to existing concerns about how unpredictable the industry is.

By broadening keyword targeting, the number of clicks an ad receives will increase, which will drive the cost-per-click (CPC) up significantly. Ultimately, this change means more money for Google. Now, advertisers will need to heavily rely on negative keywords to filter out the unwanted traffic. However, this is proving to be increasingly difficult as Google continues limiting visibility into campaign performance. 

Over the summer of 2020, Google began further restricting the data shared in its Search Terms Reports to only include terms that were searched for by a significant number of users. This update poses an issue because advertisers lose out on insight into more long-tail keywords that are driving clicks and, most likely, conversions.

Again, this is a push by Google to force advertisers to use automation and Smart Bidding within their platform. While negative keywords are becoming more critical with the BMM phase out, it’s increasingly difficult to effectively develop an effective strategy when advertisers cannot see all the data. What’s becoming even more critical is for marketers to be able to leverage their own first-party data.

The Antidote

SherloQ is the antidote to your PPC woes! While we can’t bring broad match modifier back, we can help bridge the communication gap between your business and Google.

SherloQ with IBM Watson automatically categorizes and scores all first-party lead data captured on your website, both organic and paid, and feeds this data back into Google. This continuous feedback loop between your business and Google informs Google’s automation system to optimize for the individual ads and campaigns that are driving leads that have a higher purchase intent, meaning they are more likely to convert into customers for your business. 

Additionally, because SherloQ processes all inbound leads through IBM Watson, the AI can glean intelligence from this first-party data which can then be actively applied to improve your content and ad copy.

Interested in learning more about how SherloQ with IBM Watson can help your business to combat the broad match modifier phase out? Sign up for a free demo today!

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