Exact Match Vs Broad Match [Comparing Keyword Match Options]

Are you struggling to choose the right keyword match type for your Google Ads campaign? Each option, whether broad or exact match, carries its unique set of advantages and implications.

This article aims to demystify these keyword matching options, helping you make an informed decision that optimizes your ad reach and engagement. Ready to dive into the world of keywords? Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Broad match allows your ads to show for related search terms and reach a wider audience, but it may also result in irrelevant clicks.
  • Exact match ensures precision and relevance by showing your ads only for search queries that closely match or have similar intent to the chosen keyword.
  • Using a combination of different match types, regularly reviewing and refining your keyword list, monitoring performance, leveraging negative keywords, conducting thorough keyword research, and considering user intent are best practices for optimizing your keyword matching strategy.

What are Keyword Match Types?

Keyword match types are different options that advertisers can choose from to determine how closely their keywords need to match a user’s search query in order for their ad to appear.

Broad Match

Broad Match is a keyword option in Google Ads. It lets ads show for many related search terms. This gives more chance to reach people who are looking. They might not use the exact words you picked, but they are still looking for what you offer! But know this – broad match can also show your ad to people who have no interest as well.

Phrase Match

Phrase match is a keyword match type that falls between exact match and broad match. It allows your ads to show when the search query includes the keyword in the same order and may have additional words before or after the keyword.

This means that your ad will appear for searches that include your specified keyword as part of a longer phrase. Phrase match provides more control than broad match, but still allows for some flexibility in capturing relevant searches.

It can be a good option if you want to reach a broader audience while maintaining some level of precision and relevance in targeting specific user intent.

Exact Match

Exact match is a keyword match type in Google Ads that ensures precision and relevance in showing ads. With exact match, your ads will only appear for search queries that exactly match or have close meaning or intent to the keyword you’ve chosen.

This means that your ads are specifically targeted to users who are actively searching for what you offer. While exact match may result in lower search volume compared to broad match, it provides higher relevance and can be more effective in reaching your target audience.

By using exact match, you can maximize the impact of your ad campaigns and improve the quality of your leads.

Negative Keyword Match Types

Negative keyword match types are an important aspect of keyword advertising. With negative keywords, advertisers can specify which search terms they don’t want their ads to show for.

This helps to refine and target the ad campaign even further by excluding irrelevant or unwanted searches. For example, if a company sells luxury watches, they may use negative keywords like “cheap” or “discount” to ensure their ads are not shown to users searching for inexpensive options.

By using negative keyword match types effectively, advertisers can improve the quality and relevancy of their ad targeting, leading to better results and higher conversion rates.

Pros and Cons of Broad Match vs Exact Match

Broad match allows for a wider reach, but may result in irrelevant clicks. Exact match provides more control and relevancy, but may limit the potential audience. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each keyword match type.

Broad Match Pros and Cons

Broad match keywords can provide a larger potential audience for your ads due to their wide scope, but they may also result in lower relevance and quality of traffic. Here are the detailed pros and cons of using broad match:

Pros Cons
Broad match keywords can potentially capture a larger audience by showing your ads for a wide array of related search terms. Due to the broad nature of the match type, your ads might appear for irrelevant search queries, leading to wasted ad spend.
With broad match, you can reach people who may use a variety of search terms that you might not have thought of, increasing your keyword coverage. The wide scope of broad match can lead to lower relevance of traffic, as the search terms can vary greatly from your target keywords.
Using broad match can generate a higher volume of impressions and clicks due to the expansive reach. Due to its lower precision, broad match may yield lower conversion rates compared to other match types like exact match or phrase match.

Exact Match Pros and Cons

Exact match keywords have their own advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, exact match ensures that your ads are shown to users who are specifically searching for the exact keyword or a close variation of it. This means that you have better control over the relevance and precision of your ads, making them more likely to generate higher click-through rates and conversions. Exact match also allows you to target specific user intent, resulting in more qualified leads.

However, there are some downsides to using exact match keywords as well. One drawback is that they usually have lower search volume compared to broader match types like broad match or phrase match. This means that your ad may not reach as many people as it would with a broader keyword targeting option. Additionally, since exact match is very precise, there’s a risk of missing out on potential customers who might be using slightly different but still relevant search terms.

In summary, while exact match can provide greater precision and relevance for your ads, it may limit your reach and potentially exclude some valuable traffic. It’s important to weigh these pros and cons when deciding which keyword matching option is best suited for your advertising goals.

How Match Types Affect Search Ad Results

Broad match and exact match keyword options have a significant impact on search ad results. Find out how these match types can affect your advertising campaign by reading more.

Broad Match Impact

Broad match has a significant impact on search ad results. With broad match, ads can show for a wider range of related search terms, which means increased keyword coverage and potential reach to a larger audience.

This targeting option allows for variations in search terms and can generate a higher volume of impressions and clicks. However, it’s important to note that broad match may result in less precision and relevance compared to exact match.

While it provides an opportunity to capture more searches, advertisers should closely monitor their campaigns to ensure they are still reaching the right audience with the right intent.

Exact Match Impact

Exact match has a significant impact on search ad results. When using exact match, ads are shown only to users whose search queries exactly match or have close meaning or intent to the keyword.

This means that the ads are highly targeted and relevant to the user’s specific intent. While exact match may result in lower search volume compared to broad match, it offers higher precision and ensures that the ads are shown to the most relevant audience.

By using exact match, advertisers can maximize their ROI by reaching users who are more likely to convert based on their specific search terms.

Choosing the Right Match Type

Considerations for Broad Match include reaching a wider audience and targeting related keywords, while considerations for Exact Match include precision and avoiding irrelevant clicks.

Understanding the differences can help you make informed decisions for your advertising campaigns. Keep reading to learn more.

Considerations for Broad Match

Considerations for Broad Match:

  • Broad match allows for a wider reach and can capture a larger audience.
  • It can generate a higher volume of impressions and clicks compared to exact match.
  • It provides the opportunity for your ads to show up for variations of your keywords, including misspellings and related terms.
  • With broad match, it’s important to regularly monitor and refine your keyword list to ensure relevance and avoid irrelevant clicks.
  • You may need to use negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing up for unrelated search queries.
  • Broad match can be more cost – effective if you have a limited budget as it targets a larger audience at potentially lower cost per click (CPC).
  • However, it’s important to carefully analyze the performance of your broad match campaigns and make adjustments or switch to more specific match types if necessary.

Considerations for Exact Match

  • Exact match ensures that your ads are shown only to users who search for the exact keyword or close variations with similar intent.
  • This match type offers higher precision and relevance, as it targets specific user queries.
  • It can help you achieve higher click – through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates by reaching people directly searching for your chosen keyword.
  • Exact match is beneficial when you have specific product offerings or want to target a niche audience.
  • It may result in lower search volume compared to broad match, but the quality of traffic is generally higher.
  • Use negative keywords to further refine your exact match campaigns and avoid irrelevant searches.
  • Regularly review and update your list of exact match keywords based on performance data to optimize your ad targeting.

Best Practices for Using Keyword Match Types

To make the most of keyword match types in your advertising campaigns, here are some best practices to follow:

  1. Use a combination of match types: Instead of relying solely on one match type, consider using a combination of exact match, broad match, and phrase match keywords to target different user intents and expand your reach.
  2. Regularly review and refine your keyword list: Keep an eye on search terms triggering your ads and adjust your keyword list accordingly. Remove irrelevant or underperforming keywords and add new ones that align with your campaign goals.
  3. Monitor performance and optimize bids: Continuously monitor the performance of your keywords and adjust bids to maximize conversions and ROI. Increase bids for top-performing keywords and decrease them for low-performing ones.
  4. Leverage negative keywords: Utilize negative keywords to exclude searches that are not relevant to your offerings. This helps ensure that your ads are shown only to users who are more likely to convert.
  5. Conduct thorough keyword research: Invest time in researching relevant keywords related to your product or service. Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or other third-party platforms to identify high-volume, low-competition keywords.
  6. Consider user intent: When selecting match types, consider the intent behind different search queries. Use exact match for highly specific queries where conversion intent is high, while broad match can be effective for reaching a wider audience.


In conclusion, when it comes to keyword match options in Google Ads, choosing between exact match and broad match depends on your advertising goals. Exact match offers precision and relevance, while broad match provides a wider reach.

Consider the specific intent of your audience and the level of control you want over your ad targeting to make an informed decision. Remember to regularly monitor and adjust your keyword match types based on performance data for optimal results.


1. What is the difference between exact match and broad match in keyword matching?

Exact match means that your ad will only show when someone searches for the exact keyword phrase, while broad match allows your ad to show for similar or related keyword variations.

2. Which type of keyword matching should I use for more precise targeting?

If you want more precise targeting, it’s recommended to use exact match as it ensures that your ad is shown only to people searching for the exact keywords you specify.

3. When should I consider using broad match for my keywords?

Broad match can be useful when you want to reach a wider audience and capture relevant variations of your keywords. However, keep in mind that it may also display ads for less relevant searches.

4. How do broad and exact match affect the performance of my advertising campaign?

Exact match tends to have higher conversion rates because it reaches users who are specifically searching with those keywords, while broad match can drive more traffic but may require additional optimization efforts to ensure relevance and efficiency.

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