Adwords Broad Match Modifier

Google have finally come up with a method of controlling broad match which will please those who have been looking for better control over broad match over the last few years. Its known as the Broad Match Modifier or BMM and the idea is a good one.

You place a plus sign ‘+’ in front of the word or words that should be closely matched and Adwords will ensure that word or a very close variant (e.g plural, mis-spelling, abbreviation) will be in the users search before showing the ad.


Right now if you use broad match and choose say “Bali holiday accommodation” as a keyword your ad might show for searches on pretty much anything vaguely relevant maybe even “Balinese food”! However by using BMM we could restrict the keyword to say “Bali +holiday accommodation” and have our ads shown to searches containing the word holiday or holidays which is better but it can still show for a search on “Bali holiday tours” which is not ideal for our accommodation business.

We can however further restrict things by using the plus sign twice, e.g. “Bali +holiday +accommodation” will now ensure that the ad is shown to searches that contain close relations to both ‘holiday’ and ‘accommodation’ – much better, though it just might show for searches on “Indonesian holiday accommodation” or “asian holiday accommodation”.

Take it a step further, using the plus sign on all words “+Bali +holiday +accommodation” we can now have our ads shown for searches that contain only close matches of all words so for instance our ad can show on a search for “Balinese holidays and accomodation” (mis-spelling) or “Bali accommodation for holidays” or even “holiday accommodation in Bali”.

This gives us much more control over broad match as it currently stands, in fact it gives us back the old broad match before Google went and extended it, which many thought of as a sly way to gain lots of cash from un-knowing users (how about ads for running skirts being shown to a search for “tennis shoes”?!).

Not sure when it becomes available to Australian advertisers but can’t be too far off, the UK and Canada have it already. See more at

In the meantime, if you are using broad match then it is absolutely imperative that you check your search query reports to see what searches your ads are really shown for – it can be a hackle raising eye-opener!

broad match modifier diagram

Diagram courtesy Rustybrick: