The Low Down
Broad match modifier (BMM) is a variation of the broad match type in Google Adwords. It can be utilized by adding + signs in front of keywords. This match type is more specific than broad match, but not as restrictive as phrase match. The + signs indicate that each term must be included in the users query, but they are not confined to the order of the bmm keyword. For instance, bidding on the bmm keyword +red +running +shoes would trigger an ad for the following search queries (assuming the keyword bid is high enough to appear on the first page):
mens running shoes red
shoes running red
red womens running shoes
All three queries above satisfy the must-have keywords indicated by the BMM keyword and they don’t have to follow a particular order. Regular broad match would also trigger the ads, but you run the risk of accruing more impressions with less click-throughs. Such a trend would ultimately result in lower quality scores. This scenario is not always the case, but where Google is concerned, relevancy is king (along with your bids), and BMM keywords strive to be more relevant than their close regular broad match relatives.
Phrase match “red running shoes” would only trigger the ads for the 3rd query in the above example. This match type stipulates that the keywords must appear in the order you have designated. If you are bidding on regular broad match too, again, you will be covered, but why not make things easier? If you were bidding on just +red +running +shoes you would appear for all 3 queries!
Alluded to above, your keyword lists have the potential to be much shorter with the inclusion of BMM keywords. Not only do you end up with a shorter keyword list, but a more organized and focused one at that. BMM can give you a better idea of what keyword combinations are responsible for your clicks. Keep in mind you can always check the actual keyword queries that are triggering your ads within the Search Query Report.
Not a fan of mining for negative keywords? Neither am I. Using broad match modifiers can also reduce your negative keyword count. By identifying specific words that must be included in your queries, your potential to show up for non-related or unwanted queries is trimmed down. If you know your keyword themes have the potential to trigger all different types of searches, I highly recommend using BMM keywords along with exact match in your ad groups.
If you are in need of higher quality keywords, but don’t want to completely sacrifice impression volume, try BMM. Quality between your ads and keywords is critical for searchers to achieve relevancy and for Google to consider your efforts relevant. In my experience, BMM has enhanced relevancy for many of our clients.
Don’t abandon regular broad match and phrase match altogether; some of your campaigns may need their services. Broad is useful when you need more reach, just remember to adjust your negative keyword list accordingly. Phrase match can be especially useful when the order of a keyword phrase is important. For instance we have a client that sells commercial artificial grass. If a user were to search on artificial grass commercial, they could be looking for a television ad and not commercially available artificial grass. Overall, it is important to develop your keyword list with match types that accommodate the searches you are going after and avoid the ones you don’t. You’ll maintain higher relevancy with searchers and in turn Google will reward your keywords with higher quality scores.