On February 4th, 2021 Google publicly announced that they will soon be phasing out the broad match modifier option. This option enabled advertisers to target keywords with specific keywords that must be included in the user’s search query.  The broad match modifier option was a great way to target either smaller search volume keywords and also Google Grants users, as it was a nice trade-off between broad match and phrase match. It helped eliminate irrelevant search queries yet remain broad enough in user intent.

While advertisers will not have to take any specific action, it’s best to stop using the broad match modifier option and use either phrase match or exact match options. Existing broad match modifier keywords will continue to serve but will be matched based on this new change.

Google is positioning this change as a way to reach the searches an advertiser wants by using phrase match. From my perspective, Google continues to take away control from advertisers and Google Ads management agencies and broadening user search intent. They also continue to push towards machine learning and smart bidding. This is good for Google, as they can reduce customer support and hurt Google Partners that manage client accounts.

This may also increase irrelevant search queries and drive up profits for Google. It seems that Google has been moving away from keywords and more towards automated bidding.

One of the things Google Ads managers will want to do is continue to review the keyword search report and add additional negative keywords to prevent irrelevant searches.

Below are examples Google shared regarding how the phasing out of phasing out broad match modifiers:

Broad match modifier keyword Queries that will no longer match after the update
+resume +services what are some customer service skills to put on a resume
+best +sneakers best prices on sneakers for toddler
+used +printers companies that used daisy wheel printers


Phrase match keyword Queries that will match after the update
“holidays in zambia” holiday spots in zambia
“long sleeve dress” long sleeve lace dress
“womens boots” new womens size 37 boot 

Google went on to say Starting mid-February, both phrase match and broad match modifier keywords will begin to transition to this new matching behavior.3 Because this behavior will be applied to both match types, you won’t have to take any immediate action—you’ll keep your performance data and have no need to migrate your keywords.  

In July, once the new behavior has been rolled out globally, you’ll no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords. However, existing broad match modifier keywords will continue to serve under the new behavior. That’s why starting now, we recommend creating new keywords in phrase match going forward. “

You can read more about the phasing out of the broad match modifier keyword option here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10346549?hl=en