Sorry Google, There Are Benefits to Using Multiple Match Types when Using Broad Match with Smart Bidding

Google Ads broad match
By Greg Finn

Over the years, advertisers have flocked to Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) due to the creativity, flexibility, reach, and targeting offered by the ad giant.  Google Ads was an empty canvas with unlimited opportunities. Over the years the platform has devolved from a canvas into a paint-by-numbers and recent changes over the past year have the platform headed towards a simple connect the dots. Where will it end? Who knows, but it is headed towards being a simple checkbox with all creativity sucked away in a supercell tornado of confusing updates.

Should You Use Only One Match Type?

In the most recent head-scratching Google Ads update on Match Type … matching, Google dumbed things down even more stating that:

“When you use broad match with Smart Bidding, there’s no benefit to using the same keywords in multiple match types. Broad match already covers the same queries and improves performance with real-time bid optimization.”

I believe that this is a blanket statement that does not apply across all advertiser use-cases. True to Cypress North’s core pillars, I spoke out against and challenged this sweeping advice. 

Google Ads AdLiaison extraordinaire Ginny Marvin (in Ginny We Trust!) disagreed with my statement and now we are here.

Disclaimer: We aren’t an anti-Broad match team here. We’ve changed our stance on Broad Match with Smart Bidding, even saying in both articles and podcast episodes that use Broad match in certain situations. 

When Should You Use Broad Match (with Smart Bidding) AND Other Match Types

Let’s talk of a few examples of why we use Broad Match (with Smart Bidding) AND other match types. Before we start, I am only referring to the following smart bidding strategies (as defined by Google Ads) when I say “smart bidding”:

  • Maximize Conversions
  • Maximize Conversions (with Target CPA)
  • Maximize Conversion Value
  • Maximize Conversion Value (with Target ROAS)

Example 1: Prospecting vs Established Terms

Recently, Google Ads came out with a better definitions for their match types, as you can’t just go off of the match type names anymore. Exact isn’t exact, it is “tight”, phrase doesn’t need to contain the phrase, it is “moderate”. Of course Broad is “loose” and that is where the power lies. 

With broad match, you can cast a wide net and find valuable terms that you never would have found yourself. That said, you still want to be as competitive as possible on those terms that you really care about.

In this case you could have the following:

  • Prospecting Campaign - Includes broad keyword with low budget Maximize Conversions
  • Champion Campaign - Includes exact keyword with aggressive tCPA or even target Impression Share (we don’t use this, but you could if looking to be ultra aggressive for tight terms)

Outcome: This would allow you to still cast that wide net while being ultra aggressive for those must-have terms.

Example 2: Specific Term Final URLs & Generic

Due to the fact that Broad match targets “loosely” you may want users to land on a more general landing page. In the announcement article from Google they showed that the broad match term of “auto parts” might show for “1995 5 speed transmission seal input shaft” and having folks land on the proper page is crucial. Good advertisers may want folks to land on the most accurate pages possible and many times you should want those looking for more general terms to land on general pages.

In this case you could have the following:

  • Broad Match Campaign - Includes broad match keyword going to main category page using conservative Maximize Conversions (with Target CPA)
  • Exact Match Campaign -  Includes exact match keyword going to main category page using aggressive Maximize Conversions (with Target CPA)

Let’s use the example keyword of “Paid Search Marketing Company.” In the exact match campaign, we could use our Paid Search Page, but knowing that people may search differently withBroad match, we could send them to our digital marketing services page as they may arrive on something more generic like “digital marketing.”

Example 3: RLSAs vs Traditional Search

One item that we do in nearly all accounts is attempt to re-engage folks that made it to our site but didn’t convert. Mainly working in the B2B space, we sometimes leverage RLSAs to utilize broad match when it simply may not work across the whole audience. For example, if we are an Office Supplies distributor, we may never bid traditionally on broad match “Printers” due to the heavy B2C intent. However, if we are only targeting those folks that have been on our B2B site, we may be comfortable bidding on RLSAs for “printer”. We’ve seen great success in this approach where we can use Broad to cast a wide net for those  we know have B2B intent.

In this case you could have the following:

  • Broad Match Campaign - Includes broad match keyword targeting RLSAs using Maximize Conversion Value (with Target ROAS)
  • Exact Match Campaign -  Includes exact match keyword targeting across all Google using Maximize Conversion Value (with Target ROAS)

Example 4: Mobile vs Non-Mobile

Ok, so this is more of a nerd-fest-style argument, but is a legit reason to have “the same keywords in multiple match types” which is why I am trying to refute in this article. I hate blanket statements because they can be so dangerous when taken at face value. 

The article says “when you use broad match with Smart Bidding, there’s no benefit to using the same keywords in multiple match types.” With B2B clients we may test and find success with Broad match on desktop (where there is higher conversion rates) and choose to bid differently or to not advertise with Broad Match on mobile.

In this case you could have the following:

  • Broad Match Campaign - Includes broad match keyword targeting on desktop only using Maximize Conversions (with Target CPA)
  • Exact Match Campaign -  Includes exact match keyword targeting on desktop & mobile using Maximize Conversions (with Target CPA)

The Solution: Do What Works For Your Accounts

The moral of this article is not to listen to blanket advice, but to look for ways to leverage the fantastic tools that are still provided by Google Ads. I believe that the best advertisers are those that take chances and work relentlessly for their companies/clients and all of the above examples a) work and b) go against Google’s PR. 

Paint outside of those lines while you still can people!

If you want more marketing, stop what you are doing and subscribe to Marketing O’Clock, our weekly news podcast!

Categories: Paid Search Marketing
By Greg Finn


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Meet the Author

Head of Performance & Innovation / Partner

Greg Finn

Greg is the Head of Performance and Innovation for Cypress North's digital marketing team and one of the founders of our agency. In 2010, he and Matt Mombrea started Cypress North in Buffalo. Greg oversaw the opening of our second office in 2022, located in his hometown of Rochester.

As Head of Performance and Innovation, Greg co-manages our digital marketing department and works closely with our team to ensure all our clients achieve the best possible results. He is always looking for ways to test new digital marketing techniques and technology, and oversees all teaching and training efforts to ensure our agency stays ahead of the curve.

Greg is also a co-host of our weekly Marketing O'Clock podcast, where he and the team provide updates, insights, and hot takes on the latest SEO, PPC, and social media marketing news. In addition to weekly news shows, Greg hosts our Marketing O'Torial digital marketing tutorials and often co-hosts bonus Marketing O'Talk episodes that bring together panels of digital marketing experts.

With nearly two decades of experience, Greg is a known and trusted voice in the digital marketing community. He’s a contributor for Search Engine Land, a member of the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) programming team, and has been a featured speaker at some of the largest search engine conferences, including SMX, eSummit, and Pubcon. 

When he’s not working or staying updated on the latest trends, Greg enjoys watching his kids play sports and coaching their soccer team. He’s been named the runner-up “Greg of the Year” on Marketing O’Clock’s annual Clockscars Awards four years in a row. While the coveted award has evaded him for many years, Keanu Reeves has not. Greg once saw him at Gabriel's Gate tavern in Buffalo (and noted he was very tall.)