How to match keyword match types to bidding models

navigate the selection of keywords and how to pair the different match types with the right bidding strategy

You spent days planning your search campaign, and are still trying to determine the 2 most important pieces of the puzzle in your search campaign 

  1. Keyword Match Types
  2. Bidding Strategy. 

See the variables as 2 levers where the match types offer you an option on how tight the search terms should be to your keywords, and the bidding strategy offers you an option on what you want them in return for those people landing on your landing page

It’s a question of visibility and return on investment 

There are some combinations where you’ll likely just burn your ad spend, but let’s start with my most used combinations. 


Conversion focused bidding strategies like maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, and target ROAS/CPA can work in all match-type scenarios as you are “forcing” Google to deliver a higher barrier of return than the other bidding strategies.

Smart bidding (maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, and target ROAS/CPA) and broad match tend to produce the best performance/results if you optimize towards an efficiency target like target ROAS/CPA.

Clicks + Visibility

If the focus is clicks and visibility I would in 9/10 cases not use broad match, but keep the match types tighter with phrase and exact match (that is at least possible for now when writing this, but my experience is that match types are getting looser and looser in terms of which search terms Google let through the gate) as the barrier for Google to deliver clicks and visibility is much lower and easy for Google to obtain, so you would want to be more strict with your keywords.

How do i work with match types and bidding models?

I read a lot of agencies/freelancers talk badly about all match types, but in reality, it all comes down to the specific situation you are finding yourself in, which ultimately determines which match type and bidding model you would want to use. Let to try to break some of the most common scenarios.

Remember that keyword research AND a thoughtfully built-out negative keyword list have to be worked out, before all this.

Completely new search campaign - Depending on the overall account I would start a new search campaign with exact/phrase match, and maximum conversions/maximum conv. value. The reason for this is that I want to control the reach of a level of 30-50 conversion a month before diving into broad match. In some cases where I know that the keywords will perform (typically if I pull already performing search terms from another shopping campaign), I would just launch them as broad match, but this is only if I am 100% confident that these keywords have shown performance in the past.

Search campaigns in a very competitive niche (Lawyer/SaaS) - Let's say you have been given the assignment of running search ads for a lawyer where CPCs are very expensive (>$50) you need to be very strict with your match types to avoid irrelevant search terms that Google might let though the gate - I would 100% go for exact match keywords here, with either a maximize conversions / target CPA or value-based bidding if you import value from the leads you get. This could also work for brands that only do work in specific locations in your target market.

Search campaigns with +50 conversion/mo - if I have a search campaign pumping out +50 conversions a month I would begin to experiment with broad match keywords paired with target ROAS/CPA - it has been the winning combo for me over the years, and has produced some solid and consistent performance for my clients.

Brand search campaigns - With branding campaigns, I go for exact match keywords + target impression share as bidding. The reason for exact match keywords is that you do not want to enable Google to target other similar terms than the actual brand name in the keyword itself. There are cases where it can make sense to use some phrase variants of your brand keyword, but it's rare. If you run Performance Max in the ad account you will also not see as many branded terms being targeted in the Performance Max campaign. The reason I use target impression share is that my goal is to be as visual as humanly possible on my brand terms so I target +90% impression share for example.


There are always use cases for all of the match types and bidding models Google Ads has to offer, and there is simply not one way to do it. All businesses are unique, and you have to use the overall business objective to finally determine which match type and bidding strategy you are going to use.

Hope this gives you an idea of how to work with your own match-type selection and how to pair them with the bidding

If you have a specific scenario that you donøt feel has been addressed in this blog post, I would appreciate it if you reach out (, so i can make sure to add that one as well

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