Understand keyword match types

How match types impact keywords in Apple Search Ads Advanced search results campaigns

A match type is a keyword setting in Apple Search Ads Advanced search results campaigns that helps you control how your ads are matched to user searches. There are two types you can apply: Broad match and exact match. We recommend you run campaigns with both match types to ensure good coverage and performance.

Broad match

This is the default match type in Apple Search Ads Advanced. Broad match ensures your ad will run on relevant close variants of a keyword, such as singular, plurals, misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and phrases that include that term, fully or partially.

Use broad match to save time on building keyword lists. Apple Search Ads Advanced can do the work for you so you don’t have to think of every possible keyword combination.

Broad match also helps ensure you don’t miss out on relevant searches your exact match keyword list didn’t cover. It reveals unexpected search queries which you can leverage as individual bidded keywords, once you’re aware of them. You can find them in the Search Terms tab within your campaign.

Note that in some cases, foreign language words may match to searches if they’re relevant to the app. For instance, the word amigo may broad match to the search term friend.

Exact match

For the tightest control over searches where your ad may appear, use exact match. You can choose a specific term and its close variants, like common misspellings and plurals. Your ad may see fewer impressions as a result, but your tap-through rates (TTRs) and conversions on those impressions may be higher because you’re reaching the customers most interested in what your app offers.

To indicate a keyword as an exact match, include brackets around the search term, like this: [keyword]

Examples of match types used with a keyword

Here are examples of match types used with the search term photo edit free.

Exact match and broad match applicable:

  • Close variants: photo editor free, photo edit free, photoeditfree

Note that close variants may not work in some languages.

Broad match applicable only:

  • Not in order: edit photo free
  • Partial words: photo edit, edit free
  • Other words: photo edit collage free, free crop photo edit
  • Synonyms/related words: picture edit, picture edit text

Tip: Use both match types.

We recommend you run search results campaigns with both broad match and exact match to ensure good coverage and performance. Broad match covers a wider pool of related search terms, which increases your coverage from that keyword. It’s common to run a term on broad match for keyword discovery and to ensure greater coverage with fewer keywords. Exact match provides the opportunity to show your ad for the exact search term. While it gives you less coverage, the customer intent is more clearly defined and you can price the keyword appropriately to maximize impressions.

How to change a keyword’s
match type

New keywords default to broad match in your Apple Search Ads search results campaigns. You can adjust them to exact match when you’re adding them to an ad group. Once they’ve been added, match type can’t be changed. To change your match type, you’ll need to pause the keyword and re-add it to your ad group with the appropriate match type selected.

How to use negative keyword match types in search results campaigns

Exact match (negative keywords)

This match type ensures that your ad doesn’t show for an exact word or phrase. It doesn’t block your ad from close variants like common misspellings and plurals. We recommend using exact match to avoid inadvertently excluding your ad from showing for relevant searches.

For example:
Say you have an advanced puzzles app, and you’re using the keyword puzzles. You may want to add the exact match negative keyword kids puzzles so your ad doesn’t show for that specific term, and you don’t spend money on an audience that your app doesn’t intend to serve. Note that a search for kids puzzles apps will result in your ad being shown since the exact match negative keyword is precise to the phrase kids puzzles.

Broad match (negative keywords)

To ensure that your ad doesn’t appear for words or phrases you select, use broad match. All the words in your broad match negative keywords need to be present for your ad to be blocked. If a synonym or close variant is used, your ad still appears.

For example:
If you have an advanced puzzles app and use kids puzzle games as your broad match negative keyword, your ad won’t appear on kids puzzle games or puzzle games kids but would still appear on search queries like kids puzzle apps. If you want to block kids puzzle apps as well, add kids puzzle as your broad match negative keyword.