Google Ads Understand the differences


Google Ads is a complex advertising network, but also full of features and powerful tools. If you’ve been using Ads for some time, you’re used to the thousands of options and settings that are available in just one click. One of these options is the ability to choose how your ads will be triggered by your keywords.

 Google Ads Understand the differences
Google Ads Understand the differences
Google Ads Understand the differences
Google Ads: Understand the differences
 Google Ads Understand the differences
Google Ads Understand the differences

In case you are not very experienced, you can imagine that your ad will only appear for a specific keyword entered, but in fact, there are many ways your ad can be “called”.

Google’s intelligence can quickly determine keywords that are similar to the ones you’ve entered in your campaign.

This means that your ad can appear for a much wider range of keywords than you might think. So, to get good results from your search campaigns, you need to understand the differences between different types of matches.

For this, we have prepared a small guide, which will help you understand how the different types of correspondence work. If you have never heard of the different types, there is no problem, because when you finish reading you will know how each one works and which is the most suitable for your campaigns.

What are keyword matches?

As we mentioned earlier, match types are related to how certain keywords will trigger your ads. If Google forced you to enter each of the possible keywords you’d like to appear for, your first campaign would probably be set up today.

To avoid this, you just need to add a main keyword and Google will use it to find similar and relevant words for your ads. To make things a little more complicated, there are a number of different algorithms that Google uses to find these similarities.

As you may have guessed, they are called match types, and they can have a huge impact on your campaigns. Opting for very broad keywords can result in hundreds of searches that are not so relevant to your company, providing a high expense and little result.

On the other hand, using very specific keywords can result in no traffic, or very few conversions.

Finding the right match type for your campaign is essential if you want to maximize your clicks, improve your Quality Score, and get qualified leads. So, let’s get to know the different types of correspondence and how they work.

Phrase Match

The first type of match we’ll see is the phrase match. It includes all the searches that have your keywords in the order you wrote them. It is represented by quotation marks, so an example would be “health insurance”. If you used this match, your ad would be triggered for the following searches:

Best health plan

Health insurance in Porto Alegre

Health insurance price


As you can see, all searches have the phrase you entered as a keyword in order, with words being inserted at the beginning or end of it. Using this match type, you can instantly target many long-tail searches (with very specific terms, or very large searches), which will still be relevant to the original keyword. The advantage of using this type of match is that long-tail searches are generally cheaper, as they do not have as much competition and a lower search volume. However, when you add up to 100 “smaller” searches, your total volume will be quite significant.

Exact Match

The second match is the exact match. It focuses specifically on what you entered as a keyword, with a very small number of variations. Sometimes, you need to target only one keyword, because of your product or service, without variations being possible.

To do this, you will use square brackets. In our example, [health insurance]. Our results would be just variations close to this research, without more or fewer words:

Health insurance

Health insurance

Health insurance

You can look at this result and think “but they are very similar …”, and you will be correct. This is the point of the exact match. It offers the shortest range of keywords, being the most specific of those that exist. A great example is if you have a highly profitable keyword that you want to target and you don’t want to waste money on searches that could be less relevant.

Broad Match

The next type of match is broad. It is the standard match in all Google Ads campaigns and has no symbol to identify it. It is the broadest of all and includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other possible variations.

If you are looking for the greatest possible exposure, this is the way to go. Following our example, it would be health insurance. Possible results would be:

Health insurance

Best medical plans

Health insurance in Porto Alegre

Contract medical insurance


This list could go on almost indefinitely, but you may have noticed the difference by now. Anything related to the original keyword will trigger your ad, so you’ll have a giant variety of search terms that triggered your keyword.

Within the broad correspondence, we have the modified broad, which is represented as + health insurance. It works as a junction of broad and phrase correspondence. It will trigger your ad for searches that have the terms you entered, as well as synonyms.

The differences for phrase matching are that the order does not matter and you can have words between the terms, and the difference for the broad one is that you “limit” the Google algorithm a bit, as if you are “giving way” to it searches for similar terms, thereby limiting the number of searches that will trigger your ad.

Different campaigns will perform differently, depending on the configuration. If you want the best return on your campaigns, it’s best to try different types of matches. However, before finding out which one is best for your company, you need to learn about one more subject.

Negative Keywords

The last correspondence that we will see is the negative one, which aims exactly the opposite of what we have seen so far. In this correspondence, you tell Google which terms you don’t want your ads to show for.

Strange as it may seem, it is a very useful tool. Let’s say you have a paid productivity app for mobile and run a campaign to advertise it. Depending on the type of correspondence you use, it could appear for searches as a free productivity app, which is not a search relevant to your product.

When a person looking for free apps lands on your page when they click on the ad, they’ll be very disappointed to find that they need to pay for the service. This will make you lose that conversion, including spending money on that click that disappointed your potential customer. To prevent situations like this from happening, you need to use negative keyword matching.

By entering “free” as a negative word, your ads will not appear for any search that has that term. It may not seem like something incredible and innovative, but it can certainly save you a lot in your campaigns.

What is best for me?

Now is the time. What is the best match for my company? Well then, the answer to this question is very simple: everyone!

But how am I going to use all these types of correspondence in my campaign? We have another simple answer: ad groups!

When using ad groups, you can divide your keywords into different categories, based on the intention of each one. That way, you can decide which match is most relevant to that intention, and how you’ll make your ads based on that.

In most cases, you will get the best results using exact keywords. The problem with starting with them is that you will spend a lot of time searching and finding the best words in this correspondence. So, what is usually done is to start the campaign with broad, broad modified, or phrase correspondence, and thus find out what are the best searches for your ads, either in the number of clicks or in conversion rate. After a while, you can take these searches with higher volume and better conversions and add them as accurate. At this point, you’re also adding negative keywords to prevent your ads from being triggered by irrelevant searches, so you’ll have a solid campaign in your hands.

You now know how each of the keyword match types in Google Ads works. Your home theme, then, is to optimize your campaigns based on what you’ve learned today, and thus get the best performance from your keywords!

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