Broad Match Modifier Keywords in Google Ads – Here’s What Has Changed Since!

Keyword matching is a crucial aspect of effectively targeting your desired audience and ensuring that your ads appear in front of the right users. Among the various match types, Broad Match Modifier keywords have long held a unique position, offering a balance between flexibility and control.

Broad Match Modifier Keywords Discontinued

However, as of July 2021, Broad Match Modifier keywords have been deprecated and replaced with a revamped Phrase Match functionality. Google officially discontinued broad match modifier keywords (BMM). Now, both the BMM and phrase-match keywords in your Search campaign are behaving as phrase-match keywords. We were all very fond of the BMM keywords, it gave us the versatility of a pure broad match keyword but with much more control. We loved it and we’re quite sad to see it go. But it is done, a few months have passed since so here’s what has changed and what you can do to adapt.

What Are Broad Match Modifier Keywords?

Broad Match Modifier keywords, often abbreviated as BMM, were a keyword match type in Google Ads that allowed advertisers to incorporate specific words or phrases into their search queries while still allowing for some flexibility in matching.

By placing a “+” sign before each mandatory word or phrase, you could ensure that these terms were always included in the search queries triggering their ads. This keyword match type offered a middle ground between the broad reaching of Broad Match keywords and the strictness of Phrase Match keywords.

For instance, a BMM keyword like “running shoes +mens +black” would trigger ads for searches containing any combination of “running shoes,” “mens,” and “black,” but not for searches with synonyms or related terms like “athletic shoes” or “running sneakers.”

Why Were Broad Match Modifier Keywords Useful?

Broad Match Modifier keywords offered a valuable balance between flexibility and control, allowing you to target a wide range of search queries while still ensuring that their most relevant keywords were included. This flexibility was particularly beneficial to newcomers in Google Ads or those who were targeting highly competitive keywords.

Broad Match Modifier keywords offered several benefits for advertisers:

  1. Broader Reach: They expanded the scope of potential impressions, allowing you to capture a larger audience.
  2. Keyword Efficiency: They reduced the need to create numerous phrase or exact match keywords, saving time and effort.
  3. Adaptability: They allowed for some flexibility to capture related searches, catering to user intent variations.

Two Main Problems Since The BMM Keywords Change

Increased in CPC & Higher Spending

If you had many BMM keywords in your campaigns alongside phrase and exact match keywords, then there’s a slight chance that since the change you’ve experienced an increase in the overall CPC. We are noticing that because now the BMM keywords are also behaving as a phrase match, the CPC has simply increased. Phrase and exact match keywords are usually more expensive than BMM or even pure broad keywords and because now in your account you only have phrase and exact match keywords you may see a natural increase in CPC.

Fewer New Keyword Variations

Another issue that we have noticed ever since we lost the BMM keywords is the decrease in search term variations. With pure broad and BMM keywords you are able to show up for many more different search terms, with different intents and this was a great way to discover new keywords to add to your campaigns. Certainly, other keyword match types in Google Ads, such as phrase and exact match keywords do show ads for various search terms, but the intent stays relatively the same and it’s far from the capabilities that BMM and pure broad keywords have.

What Can You Do To Adjust Without Broad Modifier Keywords

There are a few things you can do to compensate for missing the BMM keywords in your accounts. Some of the actions are more drastic while others may require more time to be able to get significant results.

1. Add New Keywords More Frequently

BMM keywords had a great capability of generating lots of traffic, for a low CPC, while still being able to control the types of search terms your ads showed to. This is now no longer possible, so if you are looking to maintain your control over the keywords but still grow your account and potentially lower your CPC, our recommendation is to continuously add and experiment with new search terms and keywords. To maintain your control you will most probably add them as phrase and/or exact match and you simply won’t be getting lots of different search term variations. So you will have to keep on digging in your search terms report, look for potential golden nuggets, and add and test them out.

Try to focus on adding search terms that show a different intent than the main keyword. And don’t be too strict, if a keyword doesn’t have many impressions and clicks, but the CTR and CPC are good then try adding it and see how it performs. On the contrary, if there are search terms with low CTR and somewhat high CPC, but they are generating lots of traffic and they convert, give it a shot, and test it out. You will have to go more frequently in your search terms and see if you can spot any search terms that could potentially become a targeted keyword. Another way is to discover new keywords with the Google Keyword Planner Tool.

You can also turn to other tools for your keyword research, free or paying, and by discovering new keywords you’ll be able to maintain your competitiveness, maintain your CPC even aim to lower it, and drive more traffic. Because then each of those new keywords may pick up some other variations that the previous keyword wouldn’t have found.

(Note: don’t be afraid to pause or exclude as well. Not all of them will work, so go ahead, be agile and flexible, pause, and exclude the search terms that have low performance)

2. Test Out Pure Broad Match Keywords

This may sound scary at first, but you will have to try it out at some point. Adding phrase and exact match keywords takes time and lots of effort. Testing out a broad match keyword will help you generate more traffic in a short period of time and bring many keyword variations that you can, later on, test out.

For the first time, you can start out by enabling pure broad keywords for only a few days at a time. Monitor the performance during that timeframe, see how it performs, and then have a look at the search terms. You don’t have to keep it running all the time once you’ve activated it, you can always pause it if it doesn’t work out. But even in the worst-case scenario, it should give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

To be proactive while you have the broad match keyword running you can frequently add search terms as negative keywords. If you notice that some search terms coming from the broad match keyword are not performing well, spending a lot without many results you can exclude them from the campaign. You can create a negative keywords list and combine everything there to make it simpler to manage. You can use later this list to add to your other campaigns, this can further optimize the performance of your campaigns.

Once you’ve generated the traffic and search terms, have a good look. Surely there will be some gems that have performed well and you can test them out.

3. Expand Your Campaign Targeting

The last thing you can try to compensate for missing the BMM keywords is expanding your reach. This may not always be possible, maybe your business is only operating within certain locations or during specific hours of the day, but if you have the room expand your campaigns.

To expand you can check your campaign bid adjustments for various targets like location, ad schedule, language, audiences, placements, networks, and more. Try increasing, adjusting, adding, or even excluding. Test out, if you can expand or reach out to more try it. Maybe experiment with different targeting options that you haven’t tried before. The goal is to expand your reach to compensate for the lack of BMM keywords. This would be especially helpful if you are reluctant to test out pure broad-match keywords. Double-check, if there are some things you can increase or expand it can help your accounts grow and bring more traffic that you previously didn’t have.


While the demise of Broad Match Modifier keywords may come as a surprise to some advertisers, the revamped Phrase Match functionality provides a more intuitive and effective approach to keyword matching.

By incorporating the benefits of both Broad Match and Broad Match Modifier keywords, Phrase Match allows advertisers to target a wider range of relevant searches without sacrificing control.

As you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Google Ads, embrace the new Phrase Match functionality to optimize your keyword targeting and achieve better campaign performance.

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