Keyword targeting is Google’s traditional advertising model, whereby advertisers select keywords that can trigger their ads to appear on Google search pages and on the Google Display Network. (Unless otherwise specified, most of the content in the Learning Center focuses on keyword-targeted advertising.)
In addition to choosing your own keywords, you can specify how closely you want your keyword to match the user’s query on Google search pages:
- Broad match: Allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations of the keyword.This is the default option. If your ad group contained the keyword ‘tennis shoes,’ your ad would be eligible to appear when a user’s search query contained either or both words (‘tennis’ and ‘shoes’) in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations.
- Phrase match: Allows your ad to show for searches that include the exact phrase of the keyword.If you enter your keyword in quotation marks, as in “tennis shoes,” your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches on the phrase tennis shoes, with the words in that order. It can also appear for searches that contain other terms as long as it includes the exact phrase you’ve specified. Phrase match is more targeted than broad match, but more flexible than exact match.
- Exact match: Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively.If you surround your keywords in brackets — such as [tennis shoes] — your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase ‘tennis shoes,’ in this order, and without any other terms in the query. You likely won’t receive as many impressions, clicks, or conversions with exact match as you would with broad match. However, if you’ve carefully constructed a comprehensive keyword list, the traffic you do receive may be more targeted to your product or service.
To determine where your ad may show on the Google Display Network, the AdWords system uses contextual targeting. This simply means that your keywords are used to place your ads next to content that matches your ads.
Placement targeting lets advertisers choose individual sites in the Google Display Network where they’d like their ads to appear.
A placement can be an entire website, or it can be a subset of pages or ad units on a site, as defined by the site’s publisher. For example, a news site might offer you the chance to place your ads across its entire site, only on its front page, or just in ad units on the upper half of its sports pages. Placement targeting gives advertisers even greater flexibility to control exactly where their ads show.