Match Types


Google Ads categorizes the level of relatedness between keywords and the search query under four different match types. The most accurate match type is “exact”. Accuracy widens through “phrase match” and “broad match modifier” to “broad match”.

 At this level, only queries that are absolutely identical to your keywords are considered.

Example Keyword: [buy chucks]
Will match to: buy Chucks
Will not match to: anything else

Under the phrase match type, any query containing your keyword is considered.

Example Keyword: “red sandals”
Will match to: buy red sandals, red sandals store, red sandals on sale, …
Will not match to: red leather sandals, sandals red, red shoes, …

The broad match type matches to anything related to the keyword. A higher bid can increase the reach of the ad, but is most probably less relevant.

Example Keyword: shoes
Can match to: boots, sandals, buy sneakers, cool chucks designs, shoe cream, red sneakers, …

The broad match modifier classified by a “+” in front of the broad keyword, matches only to close variants of the keyword independent of the word order.

Example Keyword: +sneakers buy (“buy” is still broad type in this example)
Will match to: order sneakers, buy sneakers, buying green sneaker, …
Will not match to: buy boots, order sandals, …

Example Keyword 2: +red +shoes
Will match to: red shoes, shoes red, red shoe, sheo red, shoes ret, …
Will not match to: bordeaux boots, pink sandals, …

This is an option on campaign level that is only applicable to the exact match type and phrase match type and can modify them to include:

  • Grammatical variations
  • Misspellings
  • Abbreviations
  • Close Synonyms

Crealytics attempts to create keywords in the exact and phrase match types rather than the broad match type. This approach comes with several advantages. First, due to the fact that keywords having exact/phrase match types trigger only highly related search queries, the overall costs decrease. Especially for long tail keywords (keywords containing multiple words), using an exact match type is much more effective and cost efficient. Due to less competition, the CPC is lower. Moreover, these keywords are more specific, leading to higher CTRs and QS. Overall, Crealytics recommends using a 60/40 ratio of long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. A good long-tail keyword captures customers with a higher willingness to purchase.

Crealytics recommends separating broad keywords from exact and phrase keywords in your account. This prevents an overlap in the budgeting process and thus cannibalization of traffic from happening.


For negatives, we consider only three match types: “negative exact match”, “negative phrase match” and “negative broad match”. Analog to the above, they cut off traffic around the negative keyword.

Read more about negative matchtypes in the Negatives chapter.


Assign broad match type keywords and exact keywords to different ad groups to prevent cannibalization of traffic from happening!

– Matthias Schmidt, Account Consultant