There are millions of searches on Google every day, and as you can imagine, your potential customers may be using a wide variety of unique search combinations. For example, if someone is looking to purchase a hat, they may type in “beanie,” “knit cap,” or “toque," and the list goes on. In fact, 15% of all Google searches have never been searched before.
One of the greatest challenges in Search is deciphering conversational language. However, with the latest advancements from Google’s research team in the science of language understanding, Search is going through one of its biggest transitions in the past 15 years. This is where broad match comes in. Broad match leverages innovative natural language models, which allows the keyword tool to match queries to language in the way that people actually use it.
How broad match works to build your business
While people have the capacity for eloquence, our everyday spoken language is often vague and full of colloquialisms. We rely on the listener to fill in the blanks. Natural language models, on the other hand, have historically had challenges with the nuances of language and are often far too literal: a “horse race” is meaningfully different from a “race horse.” This means that when humans talk to computers, computers often have no idea what we’re really talking about, because they can't interpret our intent. Broad match extends your brand’s reach beyond exact and phrase match by identifying related queries — it helps determine what users are saying, and ensures that ads are shown to the right audience at the right time.
Broad match can match queries in real time so you don’t have to guess at keywords beforehand.
Let’s say you’ve selected the keyword “best crossover SUV,” but the user types in the term “outback.” Traditional match types, like exact and phrase match, aren't able to tell if they mean Subaru Outback, Australian outback, or the steakhouse. With broad match, signals such as a user’s geography or search history can help determine if they are researching vehicles or restaurants to figure out if your ad is a good fit. This ability to understand contextual cues and clues helps broad match make smarter auction-time decisions.
For the best results, our Search advertising experts recommend using broad match and Smart Bidding together to give you the widest possible reach and help you meet your performance objectives. For example, a broad match keyword like “women’s hats” could match to relevant queries you may not have thought of, like “women’s accessories.” By pairing broad match with Smart Bidding, you can easily capture these additional related queries, while still allowing the right bid to be set on an auction-by-auction basis. This means that broad match can match queries in real time so you don’t have to guess at keywords beforehand.
Here’s how two very different companies used broad match in their advertising campaigns and dramatically increased conversions through Search.
Making the right call: A telecom giant gets huge results
In 2021, Rogers Communications — one of Canada’s largest communications and media companies — was starting to experience challenges with finding more opportunity within Google Search, and consequently its cost per click (CPC) started to increase as competitors became more active in the auction. The challenge was to cast a wider net with Rogers’ search marketing goals, while maintaining efficiency goals.
Rogers decided to test broad match versus phrase match keywords for a six-week experiment with the goal of increasing conversions at a stable or lower cost per acquisition (CPA). To hedge its bets, Rogers ran a broad match test with its Fido division, with the opportunity to scale should it prove successful. The results exceeded expectations, with Fido seeing a 60% increase in sales, and a 32% lower CPA.1 This success led to Rogers adopting broad match and Smart Bidding across all of its business units.
Shifting search into high gear
Online car shopping site, Canada Drives, was expanding its presence in Vancouver, and launching in Toronto in 2021. It needed to rapidly gain market share against some well-established incumbents in the used car category.
The company designed a simple A/B test using campaign experiments. This allowed the team to shift all keywords in their experiment group to broad match, and compare the results with the business-as-usual control arm. Running a standard six-week test, they were able to show some impressive results: by adopting broad match, Canada Drives saw a 23% increase in conversions, at a 9% lower CPA.2
As shown in these examples, advancements in Google Search marketing tools, such as broad match, are helping advertisers drive better results. Now is the moment for marketers to explore search innovations that enable them to connect with the right customer at the right time — helping drive growth through the click of a button.