Should I use broad match or negative match? Ask the PPC


This month, we’ll explore the subtle differences between broad matches and negative exact phrases.

A very good question has been asked for Ask The PPC and although we have already covered the types of negative matches, this question allows us to think about additional strategic elements that we have not covered. A reader from Rio de Janeiro asks:

“Hi! Probably a silly question, but what’s the difference, if any, of negating a term from a word with broad or phrase match types?

For example, if I want to avoid any search term containing a specific word, let’s say BLUE. Should I make BLUE negative with broad match or exact phrase type?

Most of the examples of negative keywords I’ve seen so far are with compound words, which didn’t help me much. Thanks and keep up the amazing work!”

We will dive into:

  • Strategic advantages of Phrase vs Broad negative match.
  • When to use single or multi-word negatives.

Spoiler alert for this article: I chose this question because it prepares us well to talk about cross-channel marketing.

If you’re only advertising on one channel (be it Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever), you’re missing out on the big payoff that comes from leveraging the full customer journey.

Strategic advantages of the phrase over negative broad match

The simple answer to this reader’s question is that there is no difference between a single keyword over a broad match/negative phrase (on Google).

If the word is in the query, your ad will not show.

Both match types require the syntax to match what was typed to block traffic.

However, we do not want to limit ourselves to Google.

Microsoft Ads does not support negative broad match. Therefore, when you import your campaigns, you are preparing to do a lot of extra work.

It’s easier to just add all the negatives on the negative phrase match.

All negative match types require you to consider variants.

This means that the only reason to add a keyword on a negative broad match is if you need to eliminate queries from a collection of words (two or more).

When to Use Single-Word or Multi-Word Negatives

Adding a term as a negative is done for one of two reasons:

  • Elimination of unnecessary expenses.
  • Direct expenses to his best home.

In most cases, a single negative word will be the best way to go for both needs.

However, sometimes an idea can be linked to relevant traffic while leaving the door open to waste.

This is when I tend to go for two or three word negatives.

For example, if I want to generate leads for a software company, I might be tempted to add the term “support” as a negative because I don’t want to pay for existing customers.

However, someone looking for support may also be looking to understand what kind of customer success they can expect.

SERP showing CRO support software resultsScreenshot of the search for [cro support software]Google, June 2022

By adding the idea of ​​”number” to the negative, you can ensure that you block the intended traffic while leaving the door open to prospects searching in unconventional ways.

In this example, you would add the term “support number” to the broad match and phrase so that you can block traffic regardless of the order in which the user enters these terms.

This way, you will still be able to show up to the transactional SERPs.

Single negative words are ideal for ensuring ad groups don’t steal from each other.

For example, if you know that “software” and “platform” have different auction prices and conversion rates, you might want to bid on both.

Making them single-word negatives in each other’s ad group will protect the budget and ensure you don’t accidentally bid against yourself (since these are variations of each other) .

Last takeaways

While there is no technical difference between single word negative over broad/phrase, there are strategic advantages to leaning toward phrase matching.

It’s also important to strategically choose single-word and multi-word negatives based on intent.

Do you have a question about CPC? Submit via this form or tweet me @navahf with the hashtag #AskPPC. See you next month!

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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