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What’s the Difference Between ‘Exact Match’ and ‘Phrase Match’ in Google Ads?

What’s the Difference Between ‘Exact Match’ and ‘Phrase Match’ in Google Ads?

In Google Ads, “Exact Match” and “Phrase Match” are types of keyword matching options that advertisers can use to control when their ads are displayed based on the search terms entered by users. Here’s the difference between the two:

Exact Match

  • With Exact Match, your ad will only appear when someone searches for your exact keyword or close variations of it.
  • Close variations may include misspellings, singular or plural forms, abbreviations, or stemming (like “run” matching “running”).
  • Exact Match provides the highest level of control over which searches trigger your ads, ensuring they are highly relevant to the searcher’s query.

Phrase Match

  • With Phrase Match, your ad will appear when someone searches for your exact keyword or a close variation of it, but the search query must include the exact phrase or a close variation of it within the search query.
  • This means that the search query can contain additional words before or after the exact keyword phrase, but the phrase itself must be intact within the search query.
  • Phrase Match allows for a bit more flexibility compared to Exact Match, capturing searches that include the keyword phrase in a larger context.

Here’s an example to illustrate the difference:

  • Exact Match: Keyword = “red shoes”
    • The ad triggered for searches like “red shoes,” “buy red shoes,” and “red shoes online.”
  • Phrase Match: Keyword = “red shoes”
    • Ad triggered for searches like “buy red shoes”, “red shoes for sale”, “red shoes with laces”.

Exact Match provides the most precise targeting, while Phrase Match offers a balance between precision and reach by capturing searches with the keyword phrase in a specific order within the search query.

The choice between Exact Match and Phrase Match depends on your advertising goals, strategy, and the level of control you want over your ad targeting.

In general, if you’re just starting out or have a broad audience, Phrase Match can be a good starting point as it provides a balance between reach and relevance. However, as you gather data and understand which keywords perform best, you may choose to transition to Exact Match for those high-converting keywords to maximize your ROI. It’s often beneficial to test both match types and analyze their performance to determine the best approach for your specific advertising goals.

About ChoiceLocal

ChoiceLocal is a franchise marketing agency dedicated to leading a purpose-driven business as the first and only franchise marketing agency with a money-back guarantee. This has led to successful partnerships with over 50 franchise brands and a spot on the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies. Our core values are driven not only by the digital marketing work that is done but reflected by each person who becomes a teammate; we volunteer in our local communities every quarter and make a difference to those around us. Named a top workplace for four years straight, ChoiceLocal is dedicated to making the lives of everyone we are involved with better.

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