Using exact match

With exact match, you can show your ad to customers who are searching for your exact keyword, or close variants of your exact keyword. Close variants include searches for keywords with the same meaning as the exact keywords, regardless of spelling or grammar similarities between the query and the keyword. 

Whether someone is searching for 'running shoes' or 'shoes for running', what they want remains the same – they’re looking for running shoes. Close variants of exact match keywords help you connect with people who are looking for your business – despite slight variations in the way they search – and reduce the need to build out exhaustive keyword lists to reach these customers.

Of the four keyword matching options, exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad and can result in a higher click-through rate (CTR).

How exact match works

With exact match, your ads may appear when the meaning of someone’s search matches the meaning of your keyword.

We'll show your ad when someone searches for your keyword or close variants of your keyword. Close variants may include:

  • Misspellings
  • Singular or plural forms
  • Stemmings (for example, floor and flooring)
  • Abbreviations
  • Accents
  • Reordered words with the same meaning (for example, [shoes mens] and [mens shoes])
  • Addition or removal of function words. Function words are prepositions (like in or to), conjunctions (like for or but), articles (like a or the) and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search. For example, [shoes for men] is a close variant of [men shoes] with the function word 'for' removed.
  • Implied words (for example, if your exact match keyword is [daydream vr headset], your ads may show on searches for 'daydream headset' since 'vr' is implied)
  • Synonyms and paraphrases (for example, if your exact match keyword is [bathing suits], ads may also show on searches for 'swimming suits')
  • Same search intent (for example, if your exact match keyword is [images royalty free], ads may also show on searches for 'free copyright images')


Exact match keyword Ads may show on searches for Ads won't show on searches for
[shoes for men]

shoes men

men shoes

men shoe

shoes for a man

red shoes for men

buy men shoes

[bathing suits]

swimming suits

competition swimwear
[all inclusive aruba] all inclusive vacations aruba

aruba holidays

[images royalty free] free copyright images

stock images

How exact match can help you

You can use exact match to limit who sees your ad to only those who search for your exact keywords or close variants of your exact keywords. These are the people who are most likely to be interested in what you offer. Bear in mind:

  • Building and maintaining a list of exact match keywords, including choosing maximum bids for each keyword, requires a time commitment that can be difficult for advertisers with busy schedules.
  • With exact match, you probably won't receive as many impressions, clicks or conversions as you would with other keyword matching options. However, the people that do see your ads might be more interested in your product or service.
  • Negative exact match keywords behave differently to exact match keywords and don’t include close variants. Learn more about negative match keywords 


  • We suggest using a combination of two or more keyword match types to run an effective ad campaign. If you use broad and exact match, for example, you'll reach a broader audience while also precisely targeting who can see your ad.
  • If you want to make sure that your ads don't show for a certain search term, add that term to your ad group or campaign as a negative keyword.

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