Broad match modifier (legacy)

Phrase match is now incorporating behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM). Learn more about this change.

Legacy Broad Match Modifier behavior

BMM terms that you designate with “+” can match to any part of a search. Additional words may appear in the search before, after, or in between your “+” terms. For example, the broad match modified keywords +red +shoes can match a search for “shoes for sale that are red” or “red men’s shoes,” but not for “blue shoes” or “red hiking boots.” This extra degree of specificity can help increase how relevant searches are to your ads, and improve your clickthrough (CTR) and conversion rates. The instructions below will help you set up BMM.

Updated Broad Match Modifier

Broad match modifiers (BMM) will now have the same matching behavior as phrase match for the following languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Russian (Learn more about the rollout of this change in other languages). Both phrase match and broad match modifier keywords will now match user searches that include the meaning of your keyword.

  • During the transition, you will still be able to create BMM keywords using the BMM notation (+keyword). BMM keywords will behave the same as the updated phrase match using the quotation marks (“keyword”).Therefore, it’s recommended to only create phrase match keywords going forward.
  • Broad match modifiers will no longer operate on a word within the keyword. If you use a keyword such as +moving services, the operator will now apply to both words, similar to +moving +services or “moving services”.
  • In July 2021, you’ll no longer be able to create new broad match modifier keywords. However, your existing BMM keywords will continue to serve using the new matching behavior.
  • You will still be able to edit your keyword bids and URL, however, if you try to edit the keyword text the keyword match type will be updated to phrase.

The instructions to add BMM are given below, but note that moving forward, it's recommended to add phrase match keywords instead. If your language is not listed above, BMM will continue functioning unchanged until July 2021.


  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. From the page menu on the left, click Keywords.
  3. Click the blue plus button .
  4. Select an ad group to add broad match modifiers to.
  5. Enter your broad match keyword, with a plus sign (+) preceding the word or words you want to appear in your potential customer's search exactly.Learn more about changes to phrase match and BMM.
  6. Click Save.

How to add a modifier to an existing broad match keyword

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. From the page menu on the left, click Keywords.
  3. Hover over the keyword you wish to edit, then click the pencil icon Edit.
  4. Add the plus sign (+) prefix to any word you want to make into broad match modifiers.
  5. Click Save.


Don't leave space between the plus sign (+) prefix and the word you're modifying!

  • Correct: +leather +shoes
  • Incorrect: + leather + shoes

If your keywords are in a language that reads right to left,add the plus sign on the righthand side of the word. For example:

  • Correct: עור +נעליים+
  • Incorrect:+עור+ נעליים

It’s not possible to mix broad match modifier with other match types in a single keyword.

  • Correct: +men’s +red +sweater
  • Incorrect: +men’s [red sweater]

If some of the terms in your keyword do not have a “+” (for example, +red +baseball hat), then the terms without a “+” will be treated as broad match, while the “+” term (or it’s close variants) will need to be included in the user’s search for ads to show.

There is no negative broad match modifier match type. The same keyword text as a Broad negative, with or without “+” modifiers will behave the same. In the examples below, the two keywords will block the same queries. Learn more about negative keyword behavior.

  • Broad negative: leather shoes
  • Broad negative: +leather +shoes

How to add broad match modifier versions of a phrase or exact match keywords

Broad match modifiers only work when they’re used with broad match keywords. If you’re only targeting exact and phrase match keywords and want to increase coverage, try creating a separate ad group, and adding the corresponding modified broad match keyword for each term in the keyword. We don’t recommend adding a “+” on function words (like “in” or “to”), or words that aren’t directly relevant to what you’re advertising.

Exact keyword phrase Modified broad match equivalent
"buy blue suede shoes"
"purchase blue suede shoes"
"shop suede shoes"
+buy +blue +suede +shoes
+purchase +blue +suede +shoes
+shop +suede +shoes
"blue suede shoes"
"suede blue shoes"
"suede shoes blue"
+blue +suede +shoes
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