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Google announced today that they will be retiring the Broad Match Modified (BMM) match type. Google will transition the BMM functionality to an updated version of Phrase Match, a keyword matching option whereby Google matches your ad only against keywords that include a phrase you designate. For over 10 years, search marketers have made BMM a cornerstone of their SEM strategy. This is a big change for the industry, and growth marketers will be forced to transition their keyword matching strategy in the coming months.

The new, updated version of Phrase Match will still provide the query control we’ve come to expect, but it will have the expanded reach that would’ve traditionally been found through BMM. The reason for this change? Google advertisers using BMM within their accounts may have been appearing matching to irrelevant queries that did help achieve business goals, but Phrase Match was still too limited to drive any exponential growth. With this update, Google’s goal is to merge the best aspects of these match types together, which in the long run will further reduce advertisers’ control in which auctions and queries they can enter.




Google is expected to begin rolling-out these new updates in mid-February, which will reportedly continue through the end of April. According to Google, after April, advertisers will no longer be able to edit existing BMM keywords or upload new ones.

Google continues to incorporate more machine-learning and AI into account management, and advertisers continue to lose control over specific aspects of their SEM campaigns. Google advertisers often anchor specific terms within their BMM keywords based on numerous factors — the most important being that advertisers understand which keywords best work with users. This latest update forces advertisers to continue to ‘trust’ that the algorithm will do a better job, or at least as good of a job than accomplished through traditional BMM keywords.

Once the back-end transition between match types is complete, marketers must take a phased approach to transition accounts from legacy BMM to the new phrase match types. Marketers should look to measure volume and performance of those keywords — as it relates to previous performance levels — while keeping a close eye on SQR’s and performance of the transitioned terms.

This was a large announcement for the search marketing industry. In the next coming months we will continue to monitor these changes and share what we learn along the way.