What’s happening to my phrase match keywords again? And how is this going to impact my advertising performance in 2021, you may ask?

Google’s advertising platform is changing, as it should – but who is it actually going to benefit from this change? The advertiser, or, Google’s income statement for the upcoming quarter?

Before we get into answering these questions – let me explain what are the changes this rant has been triggered by.

Here’s what’s changing:

Google is putting an end to Broad Match Modified keywords & is improving how phrase match keywords are going to work.

If previously we were able to pick a phrase match keyword & we would expect the output queries to contain words before or after the keyword itself.

Now, the change with the phrase match will actually allow Google to flip these phrases around & look for more vague variations that are relevant to the original keyword.

As an example:

Phrase Match Keyword: “Great PPC Agency”

Old PM (Phrase Match) would trigger:

  • Great PPC Agency in Chicago
  • Affordable yet Great PPC Agency
  • Hey Google – hire a Great PPC Agency, actually just call BPPC

New PM will include the queries mentioned above; yet, they will also trigger:

  • Pretty good agency that does PPC
  • Great Google ads Agency near me
  • Company that can do some PPC for my awesome Contractor Business

Google is also promising that they will try to do their best to avoid triggering irrelevant queries that were heavily affecting Broad Match Modified keywords.


Example Keyword: “Great PPC Agency”


Here’s what I mean by that.

Example #1:

  • Keyword: +PPC +Agency
  • Query: what’s the average salary at a ppc agency

Example #2:

  • Keyword: +Roofing +contractor
  • Query: how do I start my roofing contractor business

Example #3:

  • Keyword: +coffee +shop
  • Query: i cant believe how big of profit margins coffee shops have


So who’s benefiting from this change after all?

As you can see – this does seem to be a step in the right direction as we are still able to see most of our search queries & add negatives to optimize campaign performance.

Google is already successfully running programs like Google Screened & Smart Shopping campaigns that are ultimately black boxes in regards to reporting on how the performance is achieved.

Therefore, we are expecting to lose a lot more levers in the Google Ads platform & rely more on their automation in the near future. In exchange, that will provide agencies a lot more time to focus on the Ad Creatives and the Post-Click experience; which ultimately is not a bad thing if the goal is to please the end customer.

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