PPC Keyword Match Types

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Marketing, PPC Glossary

SaasQL Marketing Education: Mastering PPC Keyword Match Types

With PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising, understanding the nuances of keyword match types is crucial for reaching the right audience throughout the buying cycle and managing a limited budget. Choosing the appropriate match type can significantly impact your campaign’s reach, relevance, and ultimately, its success. Most importantly, it can often be the catalyst to realizing a strong ROI. Here we’ll provide an overview of the differences between Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match keywords, along with strategies to build effective PPC campaigns using each match type.


  1. PPC Keyword Match Types – Broad Match Keywords: Casting a Wide Net

Broad match keywords are the broadest of the bunch, allowing your ads to appear for a wide array of searches related to your keyword, including synonyms, misspellings, and related variations. While many advertisers choose to completely eliminate Broad Match altogether, this can be a mistake. Broad Match keywords often have a much lower cost-per-click and can significantly expand the reach of the campaign. Still, while broad match offers a vast reach, it can sometimes lead to irrelevant clicks, impacting your campaign’s click-through rate (CTR).

Strategy for Broad Match Keywords:

  • Use Negative Keywords: To help offset the limitations of a broad match strategy, maintain relevancy by utilizing negative keywords. These are terms for which you don’t want your ads to show. Regularly review the search terms report and add irrelevant queries as negative keywords to refine your targeting.

Anecdote: A camping gear company optimized their broad match strategy by adding “music festivals” as a negative keyword, ensuring their ads didn’t appear for irrelevant searches like “camping music festivals.”


  1. PPC Keyword Match Types – Phrase Match Keywords: Balancing Relevance and Reach

Phrase match keywords provide a middle ground, triggering your ads for searches that include the exact phrase and close variations with words before or after it. This match type strikes a balance between reach and relevance, making it a popular choice among advertisers.

Strategy for Phrase Match Keywords:

  • Leverage Specific Phrases: Identify specific phrases relevant to your products or services. Monitor performance closely and consider creating separate ad groups for exceptionally performing phrases to optimize your targeting further.

Data: Google Ads research indicates that advertisers using phrase match keywords experienced an average CTR increase of 14% after match type adjustments.


  1. PPC Keyword Match Types – Exact Match Keywords: Pinpoint Precision for High Relevancy

Exact match keywords offer the highest level of precision, displaying your ads only for searches that match the exact keyword or close variants. Although this match type has a narrower reach, it ensures maximum relevancy, often leading to higher CTRs.

Strategy for Exact Match Keywords:

  • Focus on Core Keywords: Choose high-performing keywords such as brand names or specific product terms for exact match targeting. Craft tailored ad copies highlighting unique features or benefits related to the exact search query.

Statistic: According to a WordStream study, exact match keywords generally boast a higher CTR (approximately 8%) compared to broad match keywords.

Building an Effective PPC Campaign: Best Practices

  • Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords for your business. Categorize these keywords based on match types to organize your campaign effectively.
  • Ad Copy: Tailor your ad copies to match the intent of the selected keywords. Create general ad copies for broad match keywords and specific, compelling messages for phrase and exact match keywords
  • Landing Page Relevance: Ensure your landing pages align with the ad copy and keywords. Consistency in messaging from ad click to landing page improves quality score and boosts conversion rates.
  • Continuous Optimization: Regularly analyze your campaign performance, adjust bids, test new ad copies, and refine your keyword lists. Implement A/B testing to identify the best-performing ad variations and guide your optimization efforts.

By understanding the intricacies of each of the ppc keyword match types and implementing these strategies, you can create a powerful PPC campaign that effectively reaches your target audience, maximizes relevancy, and drives significant results for your business.

To learn more about highly innovative PPC marketing tactics, read our guide on Dynamic Cross Channel Marketing, or visit our Cross Channel Marketing Solutions page for more information.

J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at jw.martin@saasql.ai

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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