When to Use Broad Match Keywords

Having broad match keywords is a rarity in my accounts. Broad match lets you reach the widest audience possible with your keywords. The downside is the impressions from broad match keywords aren’t very targeted which could lead to you spending money on people who aren’t really interested in what you are selling.

When the broad modified match type was released back in 2010, it was a much better and more cost-effective option for my clients and I essentially turned my back on regular broad match. However, every so often I like to look back at things I consider to be “best practices” and see if there are any exceptions to the rules.

Here are some situations in which I DO recommend using broad match keywords.

Remarketing List for Search Ads

RLSAs let you target people with your search ads who have previously been on your website. Typically, the reach for these audiences is going to be much smaller than your other search campaigns. If you are using BMM, phrase, or exact match only you might find you aren’t generating many impressions. Since these people have already been to your website, you can assume they are more interested in what you offer compared to the average searcher so going broad to get your ad in front of them is a good idea.

Not only would I recommend broadening your match types, but also broaden your keywords themselves.

Let’s say you sell shoes. You probably wouldn’t want to target everyone online searching for “new clothing” but if it’s a visitor who has been to your site before, it would be worth targeting more general keywords for your RLSAs.

Customer Match

Customer Match is similar to RLSAs in that you’re targeting people who have engaged with your brand previously. You upload information shared by your customers and when those users are signed into their Google account, they can see your ads. Since these are not only people who have visited your site but are actually customers, broad match is definitely useful here to get your ads back in front of them.

Targeting Niche or New Markets

I’ve worked with a few clients over the years where the majority of the keywords we targeted we low volume. This usually happens when the client is targeting a very niche market or it’s a new market where there isn’t currently a lot of interest.

In these cases, we’re barely generating any impressions with limited match type keywords and need broad to start getting traffic to the site. In a new market, you also might not know all of the keywords your targeted customers would be searching. Using broad match can help find additional keywords to add into your campaigns as broad modified, phrase, or exact.

Performance is Great and You Have Money To Test

If you are consistently exceeding performance goals and there’s room in your budget to test expanding your reach with broad match, by all means, go for it. When performance is great for existing search keywords, I would recommend trying out broad match to see if you can expand your reach and generate even more conversions for your account.

I would try broad keywords before testing out display, or other higher funnel strategies, since people who are actively searching tend to be more ready to convert.

If you are going to use broad match keywords, I recommend the following tips:

Tips for Using Broad Match Keywords

  1. Put broad match keywords in separate campaigns so they don’t take budget away from more restrictive match types.
  2. Add in broad modified, phrase, and exact match keywords already in your account as negatives to your broad match campaigns.
  3. Start with manual bidding to also have more control over spend.
  4. Check search terms reports frequently. I would recommend twice a week when you get started to exclude irrelevant searches.
  5. Mine search term reports for new keywords to add in as broad modified, phrase, and exact match.

Do you currently run straight broad match keywords in your account? Let us know in the comments below!

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