Definition of Keyword Match Type

Keyword Match Type is a feature in digital marketing, specifically in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, used for selecting how closely a user’s search query should match a targeted keyword to trigger an ad. It helps advertisers to control the relevance of searches that their ads appear for, optimizing budget and campaign performance. The primary match types include broad, phrase, and exact matches, each offering different levels of targeting precision.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Keyword Match Type” is:Keyword: /ˈkiːwərd/Match: /mæʧ/Type: /taɪp/

Key Takeaways

  1. Keyword Match Types help control how closely a user’s search query must match your chosen keywords to trigger your ads.
  2. There are 4 main Keyword Match Types: Broad Match, Modified Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match, each with varying levels of targeting precision.
  3. Understanding and effectively utilizing Keyword Match Types can improve the relevance and performance of your ads, attracting higher quality clicks and conversions.

Importance of Keyword Match Type

Keyword Match Type is an essential aspect of digital marketing as it helps businesses craft targeted and effective search engine advertising campaigns.

By specifying which search terms will trigger ads to appear, marketers can efficiently allocate advertising budgets towards audiences with a high likelihood of converting into customers.

Match types such as broad, phrase, exact, and negative keywords allow advertisers to control both the reach and the precision of their campaigns.

This enables businesses to closely align search queries with their products and services, optimize ad performance, reduce irrelevant traffic, lower cost-per-click (CPC), and ultimately increase return on investment (ROI), making Keyword Match Type a crucial element in a successful digital marketing strategy.


Keyword Match Type in digital marketing refers to the different ways advertisers can control how closely search queries must match with their chosen keywords in order for their ads to be displayed on a search engine. The primary purpose of Keyword Match Types is to ensure ads reach the right audience by targeting specific search terms that align with the advertiser’s products or services.

Having the right match type allows an advertiser to finetune their digital marketing strategy, reduce wasteful ad spend, and improve the potential return on investment. There are several Keyword Match Types available, including Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Negative Match.

Each match type comes with its unique set of benefits and limitations, and advertisers must carefully consider their marketing objectives and budget before deciding on the best match type(s) to use. For example, Broad Match may provide the most extensive reach to potential customers, but it may also result in less targeted traffic and higher costs if the ad is seen by users who are not interested in the product/service offered.

On the other hand, Exact Match narrows down the search terms to match the ads with the most relevant users, yielding higher conversion rates, but potentially missing out on traffic from related search queries. The optimal mix of match types for a campaign ultimately depends on the advertiser’s balance between visibility and targeting precision.

Examples of Keyword Match Type

Keyword Match Type is a feature in digital marketing platforms such as Google Ads, where advertisers can choose how closely a search query should match their targeted keywords to trigger their ad. Below are three real-world examples of Keyword Match Types:

Exact Match: A local florist wants their ad to show only when someone searches for “buy roses online.” In this case, the florist would utilize the Exact Match type, and their ad would only appear if the user’s search query is an exact match for “buy roses online.” Using square brackets, like [buy roses online], indicates the exact match type for Google Ads.

Phrase Match: A language learning app wants to target people looking for ways to learn a new language. They use the Phrase Match type so that their ad shows when users search for terms containing the phrase “learn a language” in the exact order. By using quotation marks, like “learn a language,” the app appears for searches such as “best ways to learn a language” or “learn a language quickly.”

Broad Match Modified: A shoe store wants to target people searching for any kind of sneakers online, but they want to have more control over specific search queries. They use Broad Match Modified to target terms such as “buy” and “sneakers” while allowing for close variations. By placing a plus sign (+) in front of each keyword (e.g., +buy +sneakers), the ad appears for queries like “purchase sneakers,” “buy running shoes,” or “shop for sneakers online.”

Keyword Match Type FAQ

What is a keyword match type?

A keyword match type is a setting in search engine advertising platforms (such as Google Ads) that determines how closely a user’s search query must match your chosen keyword in order for your ad to appear. There are several match types available, including broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

What are the different types of keyword match types?

There are primarily four keyword match types: broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match. Broad match is the default setting and allows your ad to show when any word in your keyword appears in the user’s search query. Broad match modified keywords are signified by “+” in front of the word, and your ad will show if the modified term is in the search query. Phrase match allows your ad to appear only when the entire phrase is present in the user’s query. Exact match restricts your ad to display only when the user’s search query exactly matches your keyword.

How do I choose the best keyword match type for my campaign?

To choose the best keyword match type for your campaign, consider your advertising goals and budget. Broad match types are suitable for reaching a broader audience but may result in irrelevant traffic. Phrase and exact match types offer more control and often provide better results for focused, targeted campaigns. Experiment with different match types and monitor your campaign’s performance to find the best fit for your advertising objectives.

How can I change the keyword match type of an existing keyword?

To change the keyword match type for an existing keyword, navigate to the keywords tab in your advertising platform (like Google Ads). Click on the keyword you wish to change and select the ‘Edit keyword’ option. Choose the new match type from the dropdown menu or adjust your keyword by adding or removing symbols (such as quotes or plus signs) as needed to change the match type. Save your changes to apply the new match type.

Do I need to monitor the performance of my keywords based on their match types?

Yes, monitoring the performance of your keywords based on their match types is vital in optimizing your campaign’s performance. Analyzing the data can help you identify any issues, such as excessive spend on irrelevant terms for broad match keywords or missed opportunities for phrase and exact match keywords. Regularly reviewing and adjusting match types based on your campaign’s performance can help drive better results for your advertising efforts.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Exact Match Keywords
  • Phrase Match Keywords
  • Broad Match Keywords
  • Modified Broad Match Keywords
  • Negative Match Keywords

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