When (and how) to use Broad Match Keywords?

At what point do you go broad match keywords? When you need more volume. Or you’re hunting for exacts.

Put simply: if you’re happy with the level of ad spend, clicks and conversions…

Don’t touch anything.

Until that situation changes, you could live on exact match… forever.

But you want to play in the broad streets.

So, we make sure either your CPA or ROAS is where you need it to be (preferably better).

Then rollout a broad version of your best performing exact.


But keep an eye on your negatives.

Don’t skip the query work.

Do you pause the exacts when you add broads or leave them active?


Run them together.

Keep doing that – until the metrics tell you there’s a problem.

When should you add exacts from the search terms report?

When they have strong performance and sufficient impressions – less than 50 per month is too small.

You’ll just bloat your ad groups with under-serving keywords.

If the exact match keyword doesn’t have a strong message-match to the current ad group – add it to another group.

Then negative that exact against the group it just left.

This stops cannibalisation.

Do you leave both the exacts and broads to compete with each other?

Yes, because Google will prioritise the Exact match.

Unless that is, it can get you a cheaper click against the broad version.

Generally, this works.

If you find the converting queries that meet the impression minimum, would adding an exact match improve performance?

Adding lots of exacts doesn’t mean Google will favour them over the broads.

Adding too many keywords is diminishing returns, especially when using broad + exacts together.

If broad match are the cake, exacts are the icing of the ad group.

Does adding exacts to the existing ad group improve quality score?

Who cares? Don’t focus on quality score.

Instead, use quality score as a diagnosis metric for fixing issues.

A low or middling QS doesn’t mean you have an issue if your other metrics are on than target.

It suggests you might be able to tweak things to gain some performance (better advert, more negatives, move to a more appropriate ad group etc).

Don’t hate the broads.

By Ed Leake

Ed Leake is a seasoned professional with decades of experience in the world of internet and advertising. He was one of the earliest adopters of domain ownership and website monetization. Ed built his first website in 1996 and has since managed over $250 million in ad spend. He is an agency owner, SaaS product owner, Ad Tech builder, PPC specialist, investor, and mentor. He has been running his agency, Midas Media, for over 13 years and acquired Adboozter in 2018. Ed also built AdEvolver, a tool to automate Google Ads accounts at scale. He uses his expertise to help businesses grow from small to large, leveraging Google Ads and Analytics, along with a significant focus on conversion optimization.