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 manage how your ads are matched to user searches. There are two types you can apply: Broad match and exact match.

Broad match

This is the default match type in Apple Search Ads Advanced. Broad match is designed to run your ad for searches on relevant variants of your keyword and terms related to it.

For example, if the keyword photo edit free was set to broad match, it might match to the following search terms:

edit photo free, free photos editor, フォトエディター, app for editing photos, photo collage maker, photo filters

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

Broad match can also help keep you from missing out on relevant searches and keywords trending in the moment that your exact match keyword list didn’t cover. You can see the search terms that are matching to your broad match keyword by looking in the Search Terms tab.

Although broad match can help you save time and improve keyword coverage, it may not be appropriate for all campaigns or in all countries and regions, such as those where use of certain keywords may be restricted. It’s also important to remember that broad match can generate a broader range of terms based on your selected keyword prompts — including terms related to the category or the names of products and services similar to your selected keywords or to your advertised app.

Exact match

For the tightest control over Apple Search Ads keywords selection and the types of searches where your ad may appear, use exact match. Exact match is designed to match queries to the specific term you select and to closer variants than broad match. It may still include spelling variations, word rearrangements, translations, and other variants deemed close by our systems.

For example, if the keyword photo edit free was set to exact match, it would match to the search term photo edit free and may also match to:

photoeditfree, edit photo free, free photos editor, fre photo editor, free photo editor app, フォトエディター

Your ad may see fewer impressions with exact match, compared to broad match, but your tap-through rates (TTRs) and conversions on those impressions may be higher because you’re reaching the customers whose searches are closer to your keyword selections.

To indicate a keyword as an exact match, include brackets around the search term, like this [keyword] when you add it to your ad group.

Tip: Consider both match types.

To help with coverage and performance, you may want to consider running both exact match and broad match campaigns. While exact match offers narrower coverage, it provides the opportunity to show your ad for exact terms and close variants — when customer intent is more clearly defined. This means you can set your max CPT bids appropriately to maximize impressions. Broad match covers a wider pool of related search terms, so it increases your coverage from each keyword. Setting specific keywords to broad match can help with discovery of new terms and with achieving greater coverage from fewer keywords.

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. Instead, 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 the exact word or phrase you specify. This match type will only block your ad from matching to the exact term. It won’t stop your ad from appearing for close variants of the exact term, including different ordering of words in a phrase. We recommend using exact match to avoid inadvertently excluding your ad from showing for relevant searches.

For example:
Say you had an advanced puzzles app, and you were using the keyword puzzles. You may want to add the exact match negative keyword kids puzzles so your ad wouldn't show for that specific term, and you wouldn't spend money on an audience that your app doesn’t intend to serve. Note that a search for kids puzzles apps would 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 — no matter what order the words appear — use broad match. All the words in your broad match negative keywords need to be present for your ad to be blocked. If a variation is used, your ad still appears.

For example:
If you had an advanced puzzles app and used kids puzzle games as your broad match negative keyword, your ad wouldn'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.

Tip: Consider using negative keywords.

If you have a keyword set to broad match and you want to avoid being associated with specific search terms related to that keyword, you can set those terms as negative keywords. Be sure to set the negative keywords to exact match so that you only block your ad from matching to exact terms.