Skip to content

Keyword match types help Bing Ads determine how closely your keywords match user search queries. Generally, the more precise your match type, the higher your click-through and conversion rates and the lower your impression volume tends to be. Finding the right balance between clicks, conversions and impressions can help maximize the ROI of your campaign.

After reading this training on keyword matching, you will understand how to:

  • Describe the different keyword match types.
  • Choose the appropriate match type or match types for your keywords.
  • Bid on the appropriate match type for your campaign.

Here's an introduction to the different keyword match options available:

Broad match triggers the display of your ad when a user searches either the individual words in your keyword in any order, or words related to your keyword.

Use broad match keyword matching when you want to sell a broad set of products to a large group of customers. With broad match, you can give your keywords more focus without using phrase or exact matches.


Broad match keyword

Trigger search term

winter vacations

winter vacation


vacations winter


tropical winter vacations


winter ski vacation


ski trips


winter ski villa vacation

red flower

crimson poppies


buy crimson flower


red roses


Broad match modifier  

Let's say you create the broad match keyword Hawaii Hotels. A query for Hawaii Rentals might also trigger your ads, since "rentals" is related to hotels. But you own a hotel and don't want traffic from searchers looking for rental properties. The solution? Simply add the "+" broad match modifier to your keyword to make it Hawaii +Hotels. This tells Bing Ads that the word Hotels (or one of its close variations) must be in the query in order for your ads to be eligible to be served.

Use broad match modifiers to affect search ads. On the content network, broad match modifiers serve as broad match keywords.

Here is an example of how your ad might show using a broad match modifier:

Search term

Is ad eligible?


Broad Match Keyword:

Hawaii Hotels

Broad Match Modifier Keyword:

Hawaii +Hotels

Hawaii Hotels



Hawaii Rentals



Maui Hotels



Maui Rentals



Hotels Hawaii Maui



Hotels Maui Rentals



Rentals Hawaii Maui




For English ads in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, grammatical variations are allowed when ads are selected for all match types. This means that a match will still occur when there are minor variances between your keyword and the search term. Here are some examples of close variations:



Trigger terms


luxury resort

luxury resorts


swim team

swimming team


Hawaii vacation

Hawaii vacation

Abbreviations and acronyms

Redmond Washington

Redmond WA

Word blending and splitting

super market


Common spelling variations

community theater

community theatre


real estate



homes in Andre

homes in André.


Phrase match triggers your ad when all of the words in your keyword match the words in a user’s search query, in exactly the same order, even if other words are present in the search term.

Use phrase match keyword matching when you want to see a particular type of product to a targeted group of customers. Phrase match can increase the relevance of the matching queries as compared with broad match.

Phrase match keyword

Trigger search term

winter vacations

ski winter vacations


winter vacations discount


Lake Tahoe winter vacations deals


Exact match triggers your ad when the exact words in your keyword appear in a customer's search query. Exact match can also match to search queries that are minor variations of the keyword. These are considered close variations. Close variant search queries can include singular, plural, abbreviations, misspellings, punctuations, accents, stemming and reordered words.

Choose the exact match keyword match type when you want to pair your ads and landing pages to a very targeted set of customers.

Exact match keyword

Trigger search term

winter vacations

winter vacations


winter vacation

  vacations winter

Best practices include:

  • When you select a keyword match type, consider your advertising goals, as well as the audience you are targeting.
  • Cross-reference your keywords with your bids and budgets.
  • Always run a search query report to make sure you are covering the queries you want.
  • Make sure exact ad groups have up-to-date ad copies.

Additionally, use negative keywords when you know a term doesn't apply to your business. Negative keywords can be specified at either the campaign or ad-group level.

Negative keywords and website exclusions

Negative keywords let you specify words that you want to ignore. Negative keywords can help prevent your ad from being displayed when a search query is similar, but unrelated to what you’re advertising. For example, if you specialize in tropical winter vacations, you do not want the keyword "winter vacations" to match searches for "ski winter vacations.” In this case, specify, "ski" as a negative keyword. A useful way to discover and manage more nuanced negative keywords is to run the Search Query report. This report presents search queries in their entirety, including words such as “from,” “where” and “how.” For example, if you are a business based in New York City, you may want to set high bids for consumers searching “travel to New York City” and create a negative keyword for “travel from New York City.”

On the Campaigns page, under Shared Library, you can also create lists of negative keywords and associate them with as many campaigns as you like. You can easily edit these lists to add or remove keywords in bulk, and link or unlink them from campaigns. You can have up to 20 lists per account with a maximum of 5,000 negative keywords per list.

Website exclusions can prevent your ads from appearing on websites that do not further your advertising goals. Website exclusions can be specified at either the campaign or ad group level. Your ad group level exclusions will override the campaign level exclusions.

Which keyword match option is used?

If you bid on multiple keywords with similar text but different match types, the narrowest match type will take precedence when your ad is displayed. For example, if you bid on both the exact match keyword [red flower] and the broad match keyword flower, a search on red flower will trigger the exact match and not the broad match. The order of keyword match types, from broadest to narrowest:

Clicks on the ad will be charged to the narrowest match bid. Also, to avoid duplicate reporting, all reports, such as keyword performance reports, will only report the match type that took precedence.

Screenshot of the Choose match type option on the Keywords tab of All Campaigns.

Using multiple keyword match options

  • This lets you track your keywords' success in Bing Ads more easily and lets you customize the bid for each match type independently. You can refine your bidding strategy as you gain data about what is successful for your searches.
  • If you choose not to place separate bids on each match type, you can simply bid on the broad match type for your keyword, and the system will treat it as a bid on broad, phrase, and exact match types, all at the same amount. Or you could bid on phrase match only, and the system will treat it as a bid on phrase match and exact match, but searchers will not see your ads if they represent a broad match to their queries. 

Landing page by match type

  • Customize your landing pages by keyword match type to provide a more relevant experience for potential customers. You can measure and track performance by keyword match type to more effectively optimize campaigns. You can pause or resume ads by keyword match type.

Inheriting Bids 

If you do not specify bids for all match types, bids are inherited from less restrictive match types. Thus, while bidding on broad match is convenient and easy to manage, bidding on each match type independently gives you greater control and allows performance data to be broken out by match type.

  • In the absence of a bid, the next less restrictive bid is inherited by the match type without a bid. This means exact match inherits the phrase match bid, and the phrase match inherits the broad match bid.
  • If neither exact match nor phrase match bids are specified, then both match types inherit the broad match bid. 
  • This is never reversed; exact match bids are never applied to a phrase match, and phrase match bids are never applied to a broad match. 


Creating, monitoring and refining keyword match types is imperative for efficient ad spend and optimal click-through rates. When working with keyword matching and campaign exclusions, remember these key points:

  • Broad match exposes your ads to a wider audience. Broad match modifiers fine-tune your broad match target.
  • Phrase match helps prevent your ad from being displayed for irrelevant variations of your keyword.
  • Exact match precisely matches your keyword and lowers your costs.
  • Use negative keywords when you know a term doesn't apply to your business.
  • Website exclusions prevent your ads from appearing on websites that do not further your advertising goals.

Thanks for reading this training on keyword match options. Continue your training or take the Bing Ads Accredited Professional exam to become accredited.

Please note all features in this training may not be available in your market.