Amazon PPC Match Types: Broad vs Phrase vs Exact Match


Have you ever felt like your Amazon advertising campaigns are lost in a tangled jungle of keywords?

You’re not alone. Choosing the right match type for your keywords can be the difference between reaching your target audience and getting swallowed by irrelevant clicks.

But don’t worry; in this blog post, we will help you understand the different Amazon PPC match types, how they work, and when they are useful.

What are Amazon PPC Match Types?

Match type in Amazon advertising refers to the parameter or setting that advertisers define for their chosen keywords. It determines the level of specificity required between a user’s search term and the designated keywords for an ad to be displayed.

Essentially, match types allow advertisers to control the scope and precision of their ad placements, influencing how closely the entered search terms must align with their specified keywords for the ad to appear. This customization helps advertisers strike a balance between reaching a broader audience and targeting a more specific subset of users based on their search queries.

3 Keywords Match Type in Amazon Ads

  • Broad Match: Ads show for various related terms, including synonyms and misspellings, resulting in a broad reach but potentially displaying for less relevant searches.

  • Phrase Match: Ads display for searches containing the exact keyword phrase or close variations, offering a more targeted reach with some specificity.

  • Exact Match: Ads are triggered only for searches precisely matching the specified keyword or very close variations, providing the highest precision and suitability for specific audience targeting.

Understanding and strategically utilizing these match types is crucial for tailoring your advertising efforts to match the diverse ways customers search for products on Amazon. It’s about finding the right balance to maximize visibility while reaching the most relevant audience for your products.

1. Broad Match Keyword

Broad match keywords are ideal for sellers aiming to cast a wide net and maximize product visibility. This match type triggers ads for a broad range of searches, including misspellings, synonyms, and other relevant variations. It’s particularly effective for discovering new and unexpected keywords that might drive valuable traffic.

Keyword: “running shoes”

Ad Triggers on:

  • “best running shoes”
  • “athletic footwear for jogging”
  • “types of sneakers for runners”
  • “shoes suitable for marathon running”

Pros of Broad Match Type:

Max Exposure and Higher Impressions: Broad match allows your ads to be shown for a wide range of search queries, maximizing both your exposure and potential impressions.

Keyword Testing and Mining: It’s an effective way to test and mine for new keywords that you might not have considered, helping you discover relevant terms and expand your targeting.

Potential for Low CPC: Since broad match can capture a variety of search queries, it may lead to a lower cost per click (CPC) compared to more restrictive match types.

Cons of Broad Match Type:

Wasted Spend on Irrelevant Searches: The broad match type may result in your ads being shown for searches that are irrelevant to your business. This can lead to wasted ad spend on clicks that are unlikely to convert.

Lack of Precision: The one-to-many relationship between keywords and search terms means you lose precision in knowing exactly which search term triggered your ad. This can make it challenging to attribute conversions accurately.

Difficulty in Controlling Matched Queries: Broad match provides less control over the specific queries triggering your ads. Without careful management, your ads may appear for searches that don’t align with your goals.

2. Phrase Match Keyword

Phrase match keywords strike a balance between broad and exact matches. It’s suitable for sellers seeking a more targeted reach while maintaining flexibility. With phrase-match keywords, your ads would appear for searches containing your chosen keyword in the same order, allowing for more refined audience targeting.

Keyword: “running shoes”

Ad Triggers on:

  • “affordable running shoes”
  • “running shoes for women”
  • “latest running shoe releases”

Pros of Phrase Match Type:

Tighter Control Over Placement: Phrase match allows advertisers to exert more control over ad placement compared to broad match. The ads are triggered when the customer’s search query includes the keyword phrase in the specified order.

Prevention of “Leaky Spending”: With more specific targeting, phrase match can help prevent budget wastage on irrelevant clicks, offering a higher likelihood of reaching users genuinely interested in the product or service.

Discovery of High-Relevance Search Terms: Phrase match facilitates the discovery of search terms that closely align with the targeted keywords, helping advertisers identify and capitalize on high-relevance customer search queries.

Cons of Phrase Match Type:

Lower Impressions Potential: Phrase match may result in fewer impressions compared to broad match because it requires a more specific alignment between the customer’s search query and the targeted keyword phrase.

Higher CPC Relative to Broad: Cost per click (CPC) for phrase match keywords can be higher compared to broad match, as the targeting is more precise. Advertisers may need to pay a premium for the increased relevance and specificity.

Loose Attribution Between Keyword and Search Term: Similar to a broad match, there is a loose attribution between the targeted keyword and the actual customer search term. This can make it challenging to determine exactly which part of the phrase triggered the ad.

3. Exact Match Keyword

Exact match is the go-to choice for sellers prioritizing precision and specificity. Ads are displayed only when the exact keyword is searched, ensuring a highly targeted audience. This match type is suitable for products with well-defined target audiences or for capitalizing on branded keywords.

Keyword: “running shoes”

Ad Triggers on:

  • “running shoes”
  • “best running shoes”

Pros of Exact Match Type:

Very Tight Control: Exact match provides the highest level of control over ad placements. Ads are triggered only when the customer’s search query exactly matches the targeted keyword, ensuring direct spending on that specific term.

100% Attributions: There is a clear one-to-one attribution between the exact keywords and the customer’s search term. This precise attribution allows for accurate tracking of performance metrics and better insights into the effectiveness of each keyword.

High ROI Potential: When the keyword and product align perfectly with what the customer is searching for, the return on investment (ROI) can be exceptionally high. An exact match is ideal for capturing users with high purchase intent.

Cons of Exact Match Type:

No Discovery of Additional Search Terms: Exact match offers no room for discovering new search terms or variations. It targets only the specified keyword, potentially missing out on relevant traffic that uses slightly different phrases.

Higher CPC Relative to Phrase Match: Cost per click (CPC) for exact match keywords is often higher compared to broader match types like phrase match. Advertisers may pay a premium for the precision and exclusivity of targeting.

Potential for PPC Keyword Bidding Wars: In highly competitive categories, the use of exact match keywords may lead to bidding wars with competitors, driving up the cost of clicks.

4. Modified Broad Match Keyword

Amazon’s Broad+ or Modified Broad match is a versatile match type that combines the benefits of exact and broad matches. By adding a “+” symbol before a broad match keyword, it ensures that specific terms must be present in the customer’s search, offering greater control over ad relevance. This modified broad match type helps discover profitable keywords, providing a balance between the wide reach of automatic campaigns and the precision of exact matches.

Modified Broad Match grants advertisers the advantages of both automatic and exact match campaigns, allowing for broad exploration of relevant search terms while maintaining control. Unlike regular broad match, it avoids irrelevant searches, similar to how phrase match expands without restricting phrase order. This match type is a powerful tool for advertisers seeking a strategic balance between reach and precision in their Amazon PPC campaigns.

5. Negative Keyword Match Types

In addition to understanding the basics of broad, phrase, and exact keyword match types, savvy Amazon sellers also leverage negative keywords. These are terms you explicitly exclude from your campaigns, ensuring your ads won’t appear for irrelevant searches. By employing negative keywords, you refine your targeting, saving ad spends for more valuable opportunities.

amazon ppc match type
  1. Negative Phrase Match Keywords:

    • Example: -“Running shoes”

    • Effect: Excludes your ad from displaying when the specified phrase is part of a user’s search query. In this case, your ad won’t appear for searches like “affordable running shoes” or “best running shoes.”

  2. Negative Exact Match Keywords:

    • Example: -“Sports equipment”

    • Effect: Excludes your ad from displaying when the user search for the exact query. For instance, your ad won’t be triggered for searches specifically for “sports equipment.”

Understanding and implementing negative keyword match types is essential for preventing your ads from showing for irrelevant or non-converting searches.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, mastering Amazon PPC keyword match types, including broad, phrase, and exact matches, is fundamental for sellers aiming to enhance product visibility and optimize advertising efforts on the platform. Understanding how these keyword match types operate, along with strategic employment of negative keywords, allows for a more precise targeting approach, ensuring ad spend is directed toward relevant searches.

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