PPC Myth Busting! Myth 5: Broad Match Isn’t Worth Pursuing

By , Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing


I have to admit that I’m guilty of buying into this myth myself. I’ll be setting up a new campaign with super strict cost per acquisition goals, and think “I just can’t afford to waste money on broad!”.

This might be a good strategy to begin with, but what happens when you’ve finished building your account, you’re hitting cost goals, but your volume is teeny tiny? This is where broad match comes in and saves the day. If you’re looking for expansion and you don’t have broad match keywords, this is your first stop. If you’re starting a new account with volume as the key performance indicator, then this should be your first stop as well.

Broad match keywords should go into their own campaigns ideally, and at least ad groups, because there’s a good chance they’ll have a worse quality score than your phrase and exact match keywords. You don’t want your campaign or ad group quality scores to bring down the rest of your keywords in that campaign or ad group. You should also make sure to include all the phrase and exact match versions of your broad keywords as negatives to ensure you’re not getting a lot of cross traffic and dirtying up your data. Then, you want to do frequent search query reports immediately after implementing your broad matches. Well, maybe not immediately since it’ll probably take a bit for the search queries to actually show up, but as soon as they’re available! Use the SQRs to find converting keywords to add in and to find crappy keywords to block.

By targeting synonyms and related searches, you could find a whole slew of keywords that you hadn’t thought of targeting before that work for your account. And, I should also note, modified broad match is a really lovely match type. If you haven’t got broad or modified broad keywords in your account and you just can’t get over the anxiety behind bidding on broad match keywords, I would highly suggest adding modified broad match keywords in first. They’ll have better metrics than broad, for sure, but you’re still losing those synonyms and related searches you’ll get with broad. It might get you used to the broad match waters enough to dive in without the anchors of modified broad at a later time.

So, client example! Using a date range of June first to August 20th, I did a pivot table using keywords as the row label with sum of cost and sum of conversions, and then calculating the CPA. I found broad match keywords accounted for 51% of conversions in the account and had only a 16.73% higher CPA. So, ideally, I’d start cutting that % of conversions down by adding these keywords being triggered by broad match that are converting as exact or phrase matches in order to cut the overall CPA down, but I think these numbers show how much broad match keywords can increase your overall volume.

If you’re looking for more myths to bust, check out myths 1-4!

Analytics is complicated to use

Display is really expensive

Display is terrible for direct response

adCenter isn’t worth my time

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google+ Email Print More

7 thoughts on “PPC Myth Busting! Myth 5: Broad Match Isn’t Worth Pursuing

  1. Hyderali Shaikh

    What is Modified Broad Keywords?

    When I first started the campaign for my client I only used exact match keywords because I wanted to control the budget, the Cost/Conversion, impressions & many more other things. But after 2 weeks the results were fairly poor & there were zero conversion & few clicks which provoked me to add phrase match. After adding phrase match I did received some conversions & the click were higher but even after 2 weeks the results were not showing any improvement, so left with no choice I added broad match & whoa! my results improved a lot & conversions started taking a high point. Now i’m using all three match type for my keywords which are giving better results but yes, my CTR is something very low which I need to figure out.

    I’d suggest don’t stop using Broad keywords but don’t include each & everything also which are not related to your business.


    1. V. M.

      Just think of Broad Match Modified (BMM) keywords as “anchored keywords”. That “+” anchors the keyword into the query but in no particular order. Those anchored keywords just have to appear in whatever length or order the search query is. I like BMM keywords since, like what this article was expanding on, it’s another way to look for keyword variations during searches.

  2. Reva Minkoff

    Agreed. Broad match has been extremely helpful in determining where to expand, but it IS still really important to be careful with it and to use a variety of match types and negative keywords. (Baseball does not equal basketball except in Google’s world).

    1. Amanda West-Bookwalter

      Thanks for reading Reva! I totally agree. I once was advertising for industrial steel work tables and Google somehow broad matched that keyword to patio furniture. WTF Google?!

  3. Amanda West-Bookwalter

    Yes! If you are targeting your keyword in phrase, exact, and broad match types, and you have these sorted to their own ad groups, then you should make sure to have the exact and phrase types as negatives for the broad ad group. This will ensure that the correct queries are shown the correct ads from the correct match type’s ad group. For instance, someone searches “Buy red shoes”, then that could trigger the phrase match version of “red shoes” as well as the broad match keyword red shoes. While we like to think Google will send this query to the ad for the phrase match ad group, that doesn’t happen every time in reality. So, to ensure our data isn’t dingy and the right ad is served, we embed match types as negatives. We’d also want to have the exact match type as a negative for the phrase match type ad groups. This also allows you to write target ads according to match type.

    Thanks for reading!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *