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Our changes to phrase match and broad match modifier

Updated June 25, 2021

As of June 4 in the North America markets and June 23 in the international markets, phrase match will begin to incorporate behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords and improve your relevancy when reaching customers. This is the same change as what Google Ads announced back in February of this year, so you don’t have to worry about any difference in behavior between the two platforms. But let’s dive into the details of this change, what you can expect, and strategies to keep in mind. Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

What’s changing and when?

As of Friday, June 4, the BMM-Phrase Match rollout will be live in the United States and Canada markets. In the following 1-2 weeks, you may still see some BMM keywords delivered as broad match.
The new phrase match will show ads on searches that include the meaning of your keyword, such as matching the query “winter vacation in Miami” to the keyword “Miami vacation.” The new match type will also respect keyword order when it’s important—for example, it won’t match “milk chocolate” to the keyword “chocolate milk.”

What about the other markets?

This update has launched in markets outside of North America as of June 23.

Do I need to take any action for my phrase match or BMM keywords to see these changes?

No action is required.

Can you give more details on what exactly will be changing with BMM?

BMM and phrase match keywords will now serve under the same new phrase match behavior.
  • You’ll still be able to create BMM keywords.
  • Any keyword with partial BMMs (e.g., +landscape services) will also operate under the new phrase match behavior.
  • In August 2021, you’ll no longer be able to create new BMM keywords. Your existing BMM keywords will continue to serve under the new phrase match behavior.
  • Since your BMM keywords will continue to work under the new phrase matching behavior, you’ll still be able to keep all your history, and no immediate action is required.
Reminder: Your existing BMM keywords will continue to work, and there’s no particular advantage to converting your BMM keywords.

Is there anything I should do ahead of the change to prepare?

No action is required. Your BMM keywords will automatically start working as phrase keywords.

What can I expect to see with my phrase and BMM traffic?

For your phrase keywords: You may see an increase in traffic volume. We recommend closely monitoring your search terms report and account performance.
For your BMM keywords: You may see a decrease in traffic volume, especially those using modifiers on some words but not all (e.g., +landscape services).

What best practices should I keep in mind to account for this change in traffic?

Here are some evergreen best practices to help you avoid potentially losing traffic volume and make the most out of these changes:
  • Add additional keywords: Additional relevant phrase match keywords or broad match keywords paired with an automated bidding strategy could help you ensure coverage and help you reach more relevant searches.
  • Regularly check Recommendations: Your “Add new keywords” and “Remove redundant keywords” tactics could help you maintain coverage and consolidate duplicate keywords.
  • Monitor performance: Compare your BMM keywords’ performance over time and add new phrase match keywords in case you see any drops in traffic.
  • Continue to use negative keywords: Exclude matches you don’t want with negative keywords. Note that this update does not impact your negative keywords.

Will this impact my keyword Quality Score?

This change does not impact Quality Score.

What will happen to my BMM keywords that use modifiers on some words but not others?

As mentioned, broad match modifiers will no longer operate on a word within the keyword. So, if you use a keyword such as +landscape services, the operator will now apply to both words, like +landscape +services or “landscape services.” To help offset the potential decrease in traffic, we recommend following the best practices we outlined above.

What about the keywords I sync with Google Ads?

There’s no change in how Google Import will work because of this change.

How can I convert my BMM keywords to phrase match?

Reminder: Your existing BMM keywords will continue to work and there’s no particular advantage to converting your BMM keywords.

If you want to clean up keywords, you may want to convert all your BMM keywords to phrase match. You can currently either use the Bulk edit tool or edit the match type directly in Microsoft Advertising online. Your keyword history will be preserved either way.
We hope this information helps you with your questions related to this change. For more information on match types, take a look at our match types training and the help page What are keyword match types, and how do I use them?

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