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15 February 2021 / Opinion

Stay ahead with Google’s phrase and BMM update

Sean Healy / Head of PPC

This month, Google announced some significant changes to the function of Phrase match keywords and Broad match modifier (BMM). These changes will commence this week and roll-out gradually through to July. After this, advertisers will no longer be able to edit or create BMM keywords.

To help you prepare for these developments, we’ve highlighted three key changes that will affect your PPC strategy:

  1. While support for BMM will end, Phrase match will expand to include additional Broad match modifier traffic.
  2. The new Phrase will continue to respect word order “when it’s important to the meaning”.
  3. The new Phrase match type will not trigger all the same search queries previously expected by BMM. This is because Google will no longer trigger for queries which it deems as inappropriate based on semantics.

How we're adapting to these changes

As Jaywing currently uses Exact and BMM match types for every keyword, we will be monitoring campaign performance closely over the next few weeks.

A review of search term performance is currently being carried out across all accounts. Search queries that have previously driven conversion volume in the past will be added into the existing account structure. This will ensure that the impact of this change has a minimal effect on conversion volume.

We will be regularly monitoring the search terms reports to look for any impact on search term relevancy while also adding negative keywords into the accounts to ensure that CTR percentages remain strong.

Jaywing’s best practice is to build granular account structures, ensuring that longer-tailed keywords are built into the account, with different permutations of each phrase. We, therefore, expect to see a minimal impact of this change.

How you can adapt

Accustom yourself to these changes by looking at Google’s examples of keywords that will no longer trigger after the update:

These updates aim to streamline keyword management and help advertisers reach relevant audiences by focusing results on the meaning of the search. Google has stated that “Broad match now looks at additional signals in your account to deliver more relevant searches”. Remember that these signals include landing pages and keywords in your ad group.

Inevitably, the updated Phrase match may push some advertisers towards considering a full Broad match. This is a risky strategy. Broad matches can trigger search queries which are only loosely related to the keyword. This can result in the true meaning of the search being lost or misconstrued.

Over the coming weeks and months, we may recommend running A/B tests on campaigns with full Broad match enabled, to measure the incremental impact of this match type against the new Phrase match type. These will be low volume tests, on a small sub-set of traffic to limit any risk.

Need more advice?

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