When looking to choose keywords for use across multiple platforms, it is fair to say there is a lot of consistency. So if you follow these guidelines they should typically work on most of the platforms you’ll want to work on.

What most keyword experts don’t tell you is that the matching of your keywords can greatly affect your CPC, so in this article I’ll also give you an idea of how the keyword types usually affect CPC bid values.

So the main keyword types we are looking at fall into four categories: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match and Exact Match.

To help with the explanation, I’ve used two examples: a car dealership trying to sell a VW Golf to a UK audience and women’s hats.

Broad Match Keywords

I’m going to start with Broad Match which is what most beginners will do without realising it.

This is achieved by simply typing out the keyword you want to be found for, e.g.


When you use broad match keywords you’ll get a lot of variance and some may not even make much sense. However you will get a list of all the terms people have matched to your ad and from those results you can see who actually interacted with your ad. This is a great way to start some campaigns if you have no clue what keywords work best for you.

The issue with Broad Match, however, is that it is usually very competitive and not specific enough for you to generate any real ROI. You can bet that if you are only using broad match keywords, the costs of your campaigns will be high for minimal results.
These days I tend to use Broad Match for research rather than rely on these match types to generate ROI.

Broad Match Modifier Keywords

Broad Match Modifier (BMM) keywords will only match phrases that include the exact words or very close variants in the whole phrase.

BMM is a great way to start your campaigns. You can use a bit of intuition and do some keyword research without being too broad, and still get search queries back you may not have thought about.

You may not get a positive ROI initially, but you will get feedback on search queries and strong matches much faster than you would if you used Broad Match only. Your CPC will typically be better than Broad Match but could be higher than your profit target.

Phrase Match Keywords

Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after it. Ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way.

These days I tend not to worry about using Phrase Match since BMM performs so well, so this allows us to skip straight to Exact Match where the real ROI can be generated.

Exact Match Keywords

Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search).

Exact Match keywords offer the best CPC rates for any campaigns because they are precise and reduce competition levels.

I hope this provides a good starting point for you, but for further clarification, here’s Google’s explanation of keyword matching options: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497836?hl=en