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Changes to phrase match and broad match modifier

Changes to phrase match and broad match modifier

In February 2021, Google Ads began to incorporate behaviours of broad match modifier (BMM) into phrase match. As of July 2021, both phrase and broad match modifier keywords have the same updated phrase matching behaviour for all languages and show ads on searches that include the meaning of your keyword.

You don’t need to take any specific action for your phrase match or BMM keywords in order to see these changes.

Note: These changes to phrase match and BMM don’t impact exact match, broad match or negative keyword match types. Learn more about keyword matching options and negative keywords.

Updated phrase match

The updated phrase match simplifies match types by combining the control of phrase match, and the expanded reach of the discontinued broad match modifier. The new phrase matching behaviour is more expansive than the former phrase match, and slightly more restrictive than the discontinued BMM.

For example, the phrase match keyword ‘moving services London to Manchester’ will continue to cover searches like ‘affordable moving services London to Manchester’. It will also cover searches that traditionally only matched under BMM, such as ‘London corporate moving services to Manchester’. For the updated phrase match, word order continues to affect matching behaviour and ads won’t show for searches where the wording changes the meaning of the match (for example, people looking to move from ‘Manchester to London’).

Broad match modifier

Broad match modifier as a separate matching behaviour is no longer available. This change means that existing BMM keywords will behave exactly as if they were phrase keywords and you are no longer able to create new BMM keywords.

If you have legacy BMM keywords in your account:

  • Existing BMM keywords use the updated phrase matching behaviour.
  • You do not need to add the same keywords in phrase match in order to continue serving.
  • In the past, it was possible to add the BMM modifier to a subset of the terms in a keyword, and the other terms would operate like a broad match. These partially modified keywords now behave entirely as a phrase match.
  • If you edit legacy BMM keyword text, your keyword will automatically convert to phrase match notation (‘keyword’) upon saving.
  • You can still edit other attributes of your legacy BMM keywords, such as bids or status.


As of July 2021:

  • New keywords cannot be added using the legacy BMM notation (+keyword).
  • Legacy BMM keywords will continue to serve, but will behave as phrase match keywords.

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