Google Ads Revamps Query Matching

Google Ads has introduced significant changes to its query-matching system, adding tools for misspellings and brand controls to enhance campaign efficiency. These updates, set to roll out over the next few months, aim to refine search term reporting, streamline negative keyword management, and provide advertisers with greater control over brand-related traffic. These improvements are driven by Google’s ongoing commitment to leveraging AI technology for better ad performance. Here’s a detailed look at what these changes entail and how they can benefit your advertising strategies.

Overview of Google Ads Updates

1. Enhanced Search Term Reporting Google Ads will now aggregate misspelled queries with their correctly spelled counterparts in search term reports. This change aims to reveal an average of 9% more search terms previously hidden under the “Other” category due to privacy thresholds. By consolidating misspelled and correct spellings, advertisers will gain better insights into the queries driving their ad performance, leading to more informed decision-making and optimized keyword strategies.

2. Automatic Negative Keyword Functionality Managing negative keywords can be a time-consuming task, especially when considering the various misspellings of keywords. Google Ads’ new update will automatically block misspellings of words added as negative keywords. This automation reduces the manual effort required to manage negative keyword lists, ensuring that ads are not triggered by unintended variations of targeted keywords.

3. Brand Inclusions for Broad Match Campaigns Broad match campaigns have often posed a challenge for advertisers seeking to control brand-related traffic. Google Ads is addressing this with the introduction of the “brand inclusions” feature. Advertisers can now limit their ads to queries related to specified brand names, allowing for more precise targeting and better alignment with brand goals. This feature is particularly useful for businesses aiming to capture traffic associated with their brand or allied brands while avoiding irrelevant queries.

4. Expanded Brand Exclusions Previously, brand exclusions were available only in Performance Max campaigns. Google Ads is now extending this feature to all match types and Dynamic Search Ads. Advertisers can exclude specific brands from triggering their ads, providing more control over where their ads appear. This expansion helps in avoiding competition with certain brands and ensures ad spend is directed towards more relevant audiences.

Why These Changes Matter

The updates introduced by Google Ads address several long-standing challenges faced by advertisers:

  • Improved Visibility: Aggregating misspelled queries with correct spellings provides a clearer picture of search terms, enhancing the ability to analyze and optimize ad performance.
  • Simplified Management: Automatic blocking of misspellings in negative keywords reduces manual workload, allowing advertisers to focus on strategic planning rather than repetitive tasks.
  • Brand Control: The new inclusion and exclusion features for brands offer nuanced control over brand-related traffic, aiding in efficient budget allocation and targeting.
  • AI-Driven Performance: Leveraging AI for broad match improvements can lead to enhanced campaign performance with less manual intervention.

These changes underscore Google’s commitment to using AI to refine ad performance and campaign management, potentially leading to more effective and efficient advertising efforts.

Detailed Impact and Benefits

Time Savings One of the most significant benefits of these updates is the time saved in campaign management. The automatic blocking of misspellings for negative keywords means advertisers no longer need to manually track and add variations of keywords to their negative lists. This automation allows for more time to be spent on strategic activities, such as developing creative content, analyzing performance data, and refining overall marketing strategies.

Enhanced Brand Protection The brand inclusion and exclusion features provide robust tools for managing brand-related traffic. Advertisers can choose to focus their ads on queries related to their brand or exclude ads from appearing in searches related to competing brands. This control helps in protecting brand integrity and ensures that ad budgets are spent more efficiently. For instance, a company can avoid having its ads appear in searches for a competitor, thereby reducing irrelevant clicks and improving the return on ad spend.

AI-Powered Campaign Performance Google’s improvements in broad match performance, powered by AI, have shown a 10% boost for advertisers using Smart Bidding. This means campaigns can achieve better results with less manual optimization. The AI enhancements allow for smarter matching of queries to ads, taking into account the intent behind searches and adjusting bids in real-time to maximize performance. This can lead to higher conversion rates and better overall campaign outcomes.

Greater Transparency and Insight The aggregation of misspelled queries with their correct spellings in search term reports offers greater transparency. Advertisers can now see a more comprehensive list of search terms driving their ads, providing valuable insights into consumer behavior. This visibility enables better keyword optimization and helps in identifying new opportunities for targeting relevant audiences.

Strategic Brand Management With the ability to include or exclude specific brands in broad match and Dynamic Search Ads campaigns, advertisers can strategically manage their brand presence. For example, a luxury brand might choose to exclude ads from appearing in searches related to discount retailers, ensuring that its ads are seen in more relevant and premium contexts. This strategic management helps in maintaining brand positioning and targeting the right audience segments.

Practical Steps for Advertisers

To make the most of these updates, advertisers should consider the following steps:

  1. Review Search Term Reports: Regularly check the updated search term reports to identify new opportunities and optimize existing keywords.
  2. Update Negative Keywords: Leverage the automatic blocking feature by ensuring your negative keyword lists are comprehensive and up-to-date.
  3. Utilize Brand Controls: Implement brand inclusion and exclusion features to refine your targeting and protect your brand.
  4. Monitor Performance Metrics: Keep an eye on campaign performance metrics to understand the impact of AI enhancements and adjust strategies as needed.
  5. Stay Informed: Stay updated with Google Ads announcements and best practices to continuously improve your advertising efforts.


Google Ads’ recent updates mark a significant advancement in how search queries are matched and managed. By incorporating AI-driven improvements, automating negative keyword management, and providing detailed brand controls, these changes offer advertisers more precision and efficiency in their campaigns. As these updates roll out, advertisers can expect to see enhanced ad performance, better control over brand-related traffic, and significant time savings in campaign management. Staying proactive and adapting to these changes will be key to leveraging their full potential and achieving advertising success.

Written by Rahil Joshi

Rahil Joshi is a seasoned digital marketing expert with over a decade of experience, excels in driving innovative online strategies.

July 10, 2024


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