Tag Archives: keywords

Changes to phrase match and broad match modifier

On February 4, 2021, we announced upcoming changes to phrase match and broad match modifier. To simplify the keyword portfolio and help advertisers reach more relevant user searches, we are bringing behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM) into phrase match, and phasing out support for BMM. This will be a gradual rollout that will change the back end processing for keyword match types (AdWords API, Google Ads API, Google Ads scripts) in order to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach relevant customers.

The updated phrase match will contain the best of both match types: the control of phrase match, and the expanded reach of broad match modifier. Both phrase and BMM keywords will continue to work and beginning February 18, 2021 for our first wave of languages (English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian), keywords using the phrase or BMM notations will begin to use the updated phrase match behavior. In Q2 we will begin the same process for all other Google Ads languages, and expect to complete in July 2021.

In July 2021, once all languages have the updated phrase match behavior, advertisers will be prevented from creating new BMM keywords (but any legacy BMM keywords will still work).

The changes to phrase match and BMM will not impact negative keyword match types.

How does this change affect the AdWords API, Google Ads API and Google Ads scripts?
Starting in July 2021, you will no longer be able to create new BMM keywords (i.e. matchType of BROAD and keyword text in which tokens begin with +). We will do a separate reminder announcement as we get closer to this milestone.

What impact should advertisers expect?
Impact will depend on each advertiser's usage of phrase and/or BMM and how comprehensive their query coverage is.
  • Advertisers predominantly using phrase match are expected to see an incremental increase in clicks and conversions
    • This is due to the additional queries to which these keywords will now be eligible to match. For example, “holidays in zambia” as a phrase keyword will now begin to match to “holiday spots in zambia”, which was previously only eligible for BMM.
  • Advertisers predominantly using BMM are expected to see a slight decrease in clicks and conversions
    • The majority of this loss is from BMMs where the modifier was only applied to part of the keyword, e.g. tennis +shoes.
    • In addition we are now considering word order when it’s important to the meaning of the keyword, so some matches that previously matched to BMM will be filtered out.
What should I do?
Advertisers may experience traffic shifts. User queries that previously matched to keywords in one match type may become eligible to match to a phrase or legacy BMM keyword causing the volume to move across keywords. For this reason it is important for advertisers to monitor their accounts and adjust budgets if needed to accommodate additional volume. Additional best practices are outlined in the announcement.

If you have any questions or need additional help, contact us via the forum.

New dates for quality score changes in AdWords scripts

We recently announced some changes to the way AdWords scripts returns quality score data for keywords. To give developers more time to review their scripts that rely on Quality Scores in preparation for this update, null Quality Scores will now roll out on the the week of October 10th, 2016.

If you need help updating your script, or have any questions about these changes or AdWords scripts in general, you can post them on our developer forum.

Changes to quality score in AdWords scripts

We are making some changes to the way AdWords scripts returns quality score data for keywords.

We will return a null quality score for keywords that don’t have enough impressions and clicks to determine a Quality Score, such as new keywords or old ones that haven't served a long time. This will impact your scripts in two ways:
  • Reports: Starting with version v201607, the Critieria Performance and Keywords Performance reports will return a quality score of “--” for these keywords. Past versions (v201605 and earlier) of these reports will remain unchanged.
  • getQualityScore method: Starting the week of Sep 12, 2016, the getQualityScore method of the Keyword entity will return NULL score for these keywords instead of a numeric value.
If you use use quality score information in your script, please make sure you update it to work with the new changes.

Filtering on quality score

Filtering on quality score will work as follows:
  • If no filtering conditions are specified on the QualityScore field, all matching keywords are returned, including those with NULL quality score.
  • If numerical filtering conditions are specified on the QualityScore field, keywords with NULL quality score information are excluded automatically. For example, QualityScore <= 6 will include keywords with quality score from 1 to 6 but exclude keywords with NULL quality score.
  • To retrieve keywords with NULL quality score, filter using the condition HasQualityScore = FALSE.
  • To retrieve keywords with NULL quality score along with keywords with specific quality scores, you need to run two separate reports and combine the results locally.
If you have any questions about these changes or AdWords scripts in general, you can post them on our developer forum.

Introducing the Keyword Optimizer sample app for the AdWords API

In AdWords, finding the right keywords to trigger your ads is one of the main drivers of success — yet a major challenge at the same time. You can use our Keyword Planner to browse for new keyword ideas, or utilize the AdWords API services for keyword suggestion and traffic estimation to find and evaluate keywords at scale.

But wait, now there’s more! We’ve just released KeywordOptimizer, a sample app showcasing how to combine these services to find the perfect set of keywords. Starting from an initial set of seed keywords (obtained using a sample URL, business category etc.), the iterative process repeatedly discards low-quality keywords and “reproduces” high-quality ones. With each step, the average quality across all keywords increases, just like evolution!

KeywordOptimizer is designed to provide guidance on how to use the TargetingIdeaService and TrafficEstimatorService. Simply run it from the command-line to get a CSV file with keywords and estimation with minimal effort. Advanced users can easily extend the tool with custom implementations. For example, you can change the calculation for the keyword quality score to combine clicks with impressions, or your own metrics in a way that works best for you.

Get started with Keyword Optimizer’s GitHub repository. Feel free to ask questions or give feedback via the project’s issue tracker, the AdWords API Forum, or our Google+ page.