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Choose the right keyword match types

Keyword match types help control which searches can trigger your ad. For example, you could use broad match to show your ad to a wide audience or you could use exact match to hone in on specific groups of customers. Learn more about keyword matching options.

This article explains how to choose the right match types for your ads.

Use a broad-to-narrow strategy

When choosing the appropriate match type for a keyword, we typically recommend using a broad-to-narrow strategy.

First, start off with broad match keywords to maximize the potential to show your ads on relevant searches. Broad match is the default type of keyword, so if you've already added keywords, chances are you don't have to do anything special to make them broad match. Learn more about adding keywords.

Next, monitor your keywords' performance over time. If you find that your ad shows up for too many irrelevant variations of your keywords, try adding negative keywords to specifically stop some of those irrelevant matches. You can also make your keyword match types more specific to narrow down your audience even more. Learn more about monitoring your ads and keywords.

See which search terms triggered your ads

Once your keywords have gathered impressions and clicks, see what people who saw your ads actually searched for with the "search terms" report. Learn more about understanding the search terms report.

Here are a few tips for using the information in the report:

  • See how closely search terms are to your keywords. In the "Match type" column, see how search terms that triggered your ads match your keywords. Use this information to adjust your keyword match types. For example, if you use banana bread as a keyword, then you might see banana bread with "Exact" as the match type. This means that people who searched for the exact phrase "banana bread" saw your ad.
  • See keyword ideas. Your ads may be triggered by terms that you hadn't thought of. Add these terms as keywords.
  • Get negative keyword ideas. If search terms that aren't relevant trigger your ads, then add those terms as negative keywords.

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