Reaching the right customers on Search

Google Ads Best Practices for reaching more of the right customers with the right message using AI-powered Search.

The best way to achieve better business outcomes is to work in strong partnership with AI. Google Ads is built to help you reach your business goals. To do that, we recommend using a combination of broad match, Smart Bidding, and responsive search ads.

Search Ads Deep Dive: tl;dr Ads News & How Tos series


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1. Align your keyword strategy with your bidding

Group your campaigns by your bidding objective, then choose your keyword match types.

Why: Your bidding objective will determine which keyword match types will work best for you. If you can accurately measure your conversions and use a conversion-based Smart Bidding strategy like Maximize conversions with a target CPA or Maximize conversion value with a target ROAS, broad match gives you the most reach and conversions within your goals. In fact, 62% of advertisers using Smart Bidding use broad match as their primary match type.1 If you have other bidding goals, like Target impression share, you may want to consider using phrase match or exact match.

Case Study

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Meetic Group (part of Match Group), a leading online dating service, was struggling to capture demand because this category is mostly comprised of long-tail searches. They tested broad match with Smart Bidding to reach all relevant searches with minimal management, and saw conversions increase by 70% while meeting their CPA targets. Audrey Rebelo, Head of Search, says “broad match has become one of our strategic tools for growing our Search activities.”


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2. Adopt AI-powered Search campaigns for the best reach, relevance, and performance for your ads

Implement value-based bid strategies to increase performance. 

Why: You can optimize the true business impact of your ad campaigns more accurately by measuring the value of conversions that are important to you (eg. lifetime value, revenue or profit), and not just the volume of these conversions. This enables Smart Bidding to maximize your conversion value and reach your target ROAS. On average, advertisers that switch their bid strategy from having a target CPA to a target ROAS can see 14% more conversion value at a similar return on ad spend.2

 Use broad match with Smart Bidding to reach more relevant searches for your business that are expected to perform within your goals.  

Why: Broad match is the only match type that uses all of the signals available in Google Ads to understand the intent of both the user’s search and your keyword, while having the flexibility to find the most relevant match that is expected to perform for you. Smart Bidding ensures that, for all of the relevant searches you could reach with broad match, you’re only competing in the right auctions, at the right bid, for the right user. Advertisers that upgrade their exact match keywords to broad match in campaigns that use a target CPA can see an average of 35% more conversions.3

Easily test broad match keywords from your Recommendations page.

Why: Run a test to see if broad match improves the performance of your campaigns. If you’re using Smart Bidding, we’ll identify existing keywords that are likely to improve performance if you add them as broad match, and automatically surface these opportunities to you on the Recommendations page in your account. You can also test the performance of these broad match keywords by creating a one-click experiment directly in the recommendation.

Use responsive search ads with broad match and Smart Bidding to show up for more people and adapt to shifts in consumer behavior.

Why: This combination helps you reach the right customers, with the right message, at the right price, no matter how they’re searching. Broad match reaches all searches that exact and phrase match can reach—plus more. Responsive search ads automatically create relevant ads for each of those searches. And Smart Bidding customizes bids for each and every query—not just every keyword.

Case Study logo

Using the combination of broad match, Smart Bidding, and responsive search ads, UK-based increased sign-ups in Germany from its generic Search campaigns by 182%, while increasing clicks by 258%.


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3. Simplify your account structure

Use Smart Bidding with broad match-only campaigns to help simplify your accounts.

Why: Smart Bidding works best when it can optimize against your goals with as much flexibility as possible. And because the Google Ads bidding algorithms learn at the query level rather than the keyword level, if a search query has already been matching to keywords in other parts of your campaigns, we simply apply what we’ve learned across your account. This means you can simplify your accounts by using broad match for performance-based keywords.

 Group your keywords into ad groups and campaigns with similar themes.

Why: This makes it easier for Google to understand your keywords, select the best one, and determine which ad should serve for each search query.

To learn more about these best practices, check out this deep dive into AI-powered Search ads.


1. Based on clicks and advertisers with >100 clicks. Google Internal Data, Global, January - February 2023
2. Google Internal Data, Global, Feb 2023
3. Google internal data, Global, 2022-03-28 to 2022-04-19

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