This week Microsoft announced that all broad match modifier keywords are now serving as broad match: 

microsoft ads broad match modifier keywords now serving as broad match

This is an announcement that could easily pass under the radar, but one that, for those using Microsoft Ads, might have big implications.

Broad match modifier has been used in the past few years by advertisers to keep a degree of control on the searches that would trigger their ads giving them a good level of flexibility – when used properly, whilst ensuring that the system wouldn’t match their keywords to vaguely lose broad terms.

With this change, for which Microsoft points out advertisers do not need to make any changes, but instead suggest they just monitor the performance for a few weeks, the risk is to see the quality of the incoming traffic being depleted by the ads now serving to broad match keywords.

What is even more concerning is that for this change advertisers do not even need to change the keywords to remove the + sign, which will be disregarded by the system.

We do think the change makes sense in light of the push for automation and leaning on machine learning to optimise and achieve campaign goals with smart bidding.  However, the concern is for advertisers that may not have taken notice of this change happening. They are automatically opted in and might start seeing a drop in performance without knowing or understanding the cause of it.

More information about the change can be found in the Microsoft Advertising help section here.