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Keyword match types help Bing Ads determine how closely a search query or other input must match your keyword. 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 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

If you’re bidding on the keyword Hawaii hotels, your ad might also display to people whose query did not include Hawaii hotels. But what if you want more control over which ads your query display for when using the broad match type?

For example, as a hotel owner, if you feel that queries containing vacation rentals are unlikely to result in clicks or conversions, you would probably want to suppress your ad for the searches containing the term. At the same time, you may not want to limit your ads too much, by using more restrictive match types.

The solution is a variation on the broad match type – something called a broad match modifier. A broad match modifier tells Bing Ads that a specific word or words must be present in order for your ad to display.

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




Bing Ads does its best to make sure the related queries are highly relevant to your keywords. To get back to our example, if you want to require that the word hotels is included in search queries, you would create a new broad match modifier with a + sign proceeding hotels. The + sign indicates that hotels must be included in the search query in order for your ads to be eligible to display.

When used in combination with negative keywords enhancements, the broad match modifier allows you to create keywords that have more reach than exact or phrase match, yet more control over your broad match traffic. The result is higher quality clicks and more traffic to your website.

Phrase match triggers your ad when all of the words in your keyword match words in a user’s search query. The words can be present in the search query in exactly the same order or re-ordered if the intent of the search query matches that of your keyword. If your phrase match keyword is "winter vacations", you could match to the search queries ski winter vacations and ski vacations winter.

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


ski vacations winter


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.

Negative keywords can be phrase or exact matches you use 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. 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.

Negative keywords and website exclusions

Website exclusions can prevent your ads from appearing on websites that do not further your advertising goals. If you want to prevent your ad from appearing in specific locations, on specific web sites within the search network, or prevent your ads from displaying to certain IP addresses, you can configure exclusions.

Close keyword variations

For exact match and phrase match keywords, your ad may also show on queries that match minor variations of the keyword, so you can maximize relevant matches without having to add all of these variations yourself. Close variations are also considered for broad match modifier keywords.

Examples of the types of close variations that are considered include:

  • Plurals: The keyword luxury +resorts will match the query luxury resort.
  • Stemming: The keyword +swim team will match the query swimming team.
  • Misspellings: The keyword Hawaii +vacation will match the query Hawaii vacaton.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms: The keyword Redmond +Washington will match the query Redmond WA.
  • Word blending and splitting: The keyword +super +market will match the query supermarket.
  • Common spelling variations: The keyword community theatre will match the query community theater.
  • Punctuation: The keyword real estate will match the query real-estate.
  • Accents: The keyword +cafĂ© will match the query cafe. Accents are not considered for close variations for English ads in the United States and Canada.
  • Reordering: The keyword chicken teriyaki will match teriyaki chicken. Reordering occurs only if it doesn't change the meaning of the query.

Choosing the right match type

If you're not sure which match type to use, start with broad match. This will give you the best chance of reaching your target customers right off the bat. You can then use the results of your search term performance reports to refine your list of keywords. Here are some quick tips on how to optimize your keyword lists:

  • If a majority of the search terms in the report are not related to your ad, you might want to consider switching the relevant keyword to one of the more specific match types.
  • For search terms that you want triggering your ad more often, add them to your keyword list with a more specific match type (such as phrase or exact).
  • For keywords that you don't want triggering your ad, add them to your keyword list as negative keywords.

Which match type 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: Broad match, Broad match modifier, Phrase match, Exact match.

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. In this example, an impression would be reported for the exact match [red flower] and not the broad match flower.

Match types

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

One strategy to test with match types is by customizing your landing pages 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 keyword 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.