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In March of this year, Google expanded the keyword variant "Exact Match" so that different word sequences are also included. I explain the effects of the AdWords update for advertisers in this article.

What is an exact match keyword?

As the name implies, the "Exact Match" keyword setting is a function that ensures that an AdWords ad is only displayed to users who match the keyword. exact keyword in the specified order in the Google search. This means that when the keyword "gift ideas for men" is used, an ad is only displayed if the keyword is entered in the exact order. Since 2012, the exact match has been Variants of the keyword, such as singular and plural forms, incorrect spellings, abbreviations and spellings with accents.

Google AdWords Exact Match

Until now, it was therefore the case that if the correct keywords were used in a modified order, the AdWords ads are not displayed. This regulation of the keyword order will be changed, as the following graphic illustrates:

Exact Match Update

However, disregarding the specified order is not the only change. With the new update, function words are now also either included or ignored. Function words include conjunctions (and, but ...), prepositions (before, in ...), articles (the, the ...). The function words are either ignored or added when the AdWords ads are displayed. According to the Opinion from Google The effect of using exact match keywords is that up to three percent more clicks can be generated on the respective ads.

Excat Macth Update

What impact does the Exact Match update have for advertisers?

As already mentioned, Google justifies the update with the increasing reach without having to create additional keywords. The update certainly snubs the basic idea of the exact match variant, as advertisers partially lose the control function of the exact match keywords. It can also be expected that the AdWords CPC will increase as a result of the update, as the number of bidders for the keywords will automatically increase. In addition, it will be necessary for advertisers to check the actual Search terms and, if necessary, classify unpopular search terms as negative keywords. By using negative keywords, the basic idea of exact match can be partially retained.


As a result of the update, advertisers should analyze their ads even more closely in order to prevent ads being displayed for unwanted keywords. In particular, the use of negative keywords and smaller ad groups can partially regain control of exact match keywords.

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Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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