Amazon Keyword Match Types: How to Choose the Right Match Type for your Ads

Elise Jackson

Post details

  • AUTHOR: Elise Jackson
  • CATEGORY: Amazon Advertising
  • DATE: 30/08/2023

In the world of Amazon advertising, understanding the intricacies of keyword match types can mean the difference between a successful campaign and a lackluster one.

This comprehensive guide will delve into the nuances of Amazon ads keyword match types, helping you navigate the terrain of Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising with confidence.

Understanding keyword match types on Amazon

When you’re diving into Amazon PPC, you’re in for some smart choices. This is where you, the seller or advertiser, get to call the shots on which keywords to bid on. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to have a say in where those hard-earned money go, right?

Once you’ve got your keywords lined up, the next step is to think about the match type you want to go with. There are three Amazon PPC match types available, and getting these right will make or break your Amazon advertising campaign performance.


Choosing keyword match type on Amazon platform


The match type you go for tells the Amazon platform how closely you want to match up your keyword with what customers are typing into that search bar. The three big players are Broad, Phrase, and Exact. But hey, there is a sneaky fourth match type – Broad Modifiers. And yes, we’re giving you the lowdown on all four types in this guide.


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Keyword Vs. search term

Before we dive in, it’s important to know the difference between a keyword and a search term.

As mentioned above, a keyword is what a seller bids on whereas a search term is something the potential purchaser uses to find a product and also what your ad appears for.

Keywords have the potential to trigger thousands of different search terms. However, sellers can control what their brand appears for by using keyword match types.

A keyword could be “black sunglasses” but a search term could be “black sunglasses for women” or even “polarised black sunglasses”.


Difference between broad, phrase, and exact match on Amazon

When an Amazon customer performs a search, they use keywords to type in what they want.

Let’s use an example of the keywords “white beach towel”.

If you are selling white beach towels on Amazon and want to run ads to target people who want to buy this product, your goal is to win the auction of this ad by having the highest bid on those keywords for this search term – among other factors of course – so that your ad is shown to the customer.

Not always an easy task!

But, if you can effectively optimise your PPC campaigns the outcomes will lead to an increase in visibility and potentially in sales on Amazon. Good times all around!

So, how do you do that? The first task is to start with ensuring you are using the right match types for your Amazon PPC campaigns.

Match types give you control over what customer search queries will match the keywords in your manual targeting Amazon advertising campaigns. It’s nearly impossible to account for all the various phrases a customer could use when searching for a product on Amazon, so keyword match types exist to help you combat that challenge.

Using match types to your advantage will help you find new customers, discover the best keywords to target to meet your goals, and eliminate wasted spending. In the example of “white beach towel” –

  • Broad Match Type: With this match type, your ads may show for variations, synonyms, and related keywords. This offers a wide reach but requires careful negative keyword management to avoid irrelevant clicks, i.e. “white towel”, “beach towel” or “beach towel with white and blue stripes”.
  • Phrase Match Type: Ads are triggered when a customer’s search query includes your keyword phrase in the same order. This strikes a balance between reach and precision, i.e. “cotton white beach towel” or “white beach towel for summer”.
  • Exact Match Type: Your ad will only show when a customer’s search query matches your keyword exactly (including the plural form of the keyword). This match type offers the highest level of relevancy, i.e “white beach towel”.

The difference lies in the level of control and relevancy each match type offers. Broad reaches a broader audience, but relevance might suffer. Phrase finds a middle ground, while Exact hones in on precision. Understanding these differences is crucial for optimising your campaigns effectively.


The role of Negative keywords for Amazon advertising campaigns

In the realm of Amazon keyword match type optimisation, negative keywords play a crucial role in fine-tuning your campaigns. Negative keywords act as a filter, ensuring your ads don’t show up for irrelevant searches. By excluding specific terms that are unlikely to lead to conversions, you can enhance the precision of your targeting. Whether you’re using Broad, Phrase, or Exact matches, strategically employing negative keywords helps you focus your budget on high-potential opportunities and minimises wasted ad spend on irrelevant clicks.

Let’s say you’re selling high-end luxury watches on Amazon, and you’re running a Broad match campaign with the keyword “watches.” While “watches” might attract a broad range of searches, you want to ensure your ad is shown to users interested in luxury products rather than inexpensive or casual watches.

In this case, you could use negative keywords such as “cheap,” “casual,” and “affordable.” By adding these negative keywords, your ad won’t be displayed when users search for phrases like “cheap watches” or “affordable watches.” This helps you filter out irrelevant clicks and ensures that your ad is presented to users who are more likely to be interested in your premium luxury watches.

Negative keywords give you the power to shape your ad’s visibility, making your campaigns more efficient and driving higher-quality traffic to your product listings.


Amazon PPC match types: pros and cons

Broad Match

Cheapest & most general match, this match type offers your ad broad traffic exposure. A search term will match if it contains all the keyword terms in any order or close variations.

Broad match also includes the plural form of the keyword, related shopping queries, and other variations that are close to the keyword. It’s difficult to predict user behaviour, so you need to use a broad match in order to understand what keywords your products will show up for.



  • Higher exposure and impressions
  • Can test which keywords are best
  • CPC can be low


  • Lose spend on irrelevant keywords unless you add negative keywords
  • Lower CTR due to a low number of clicks, if a product is not related to the ad


Phrase Match

A little more specific & little more expensive. The search term must contain the exact phrase or sequence of words. It is more restrictive than a broad match and will generally result in more relevant placements for your ad. Phrase match also includes the plural form of the keyword.



  • More relevant ad placement and relevant customers
  • Prevents overspending on irrelevant ads
  • Allows to discover new search terms more relevant to the product advertised


  • Higher CPC than broad match
  • Lower impressions


Exact Match

The most expensive & specific match type. As the name suggests, you are bidding for the exact words/phrases you want your ad to appear on. This does not include additional words, plural or misspellings.



  • The budget is directed at very relevant keywords only
  • The potential for ROI can be really high if a customer purchases from the ad


  • No discoverability from different search terms
  • Potential for a bidding war with a competitor
  • CPC is high compared to the other two types


Broad modifiers

Broad Modifiers a less-known hero of the Amazon PPC match types sits right beside the familiar Broad, Phrase, and Exact, this match type’s got a unique trick up its sleeve.

With Broad Modifiers, you’re getting the best of both worlds. It’s like being specific without being too strict. Your ad will pop up for search terms that contain your keyword terms, in any order or close variations. But here’s the twist – you have the power to specify certain keywords that must be included for a match to happen by using the symbol “+”, i.e.”+black +sunglasses for +women”, this can appear for “women polarised black sunglasses”



  • Not too narrow with your reach like with Exact, but also not too wide to include irrelevant terms like with Broad.
  • Allows room to explore additional keywords and their impact on the advertising campaigns.


  • Potentially not straightforward for everyone to use
  • CPC is a bit higher compared to Broad
  • Lose spend on irrelevant keywords unless you add negative keywords


Success can be found with each of the 4 match types, it’s just a case of finding out which one fits your strategy better. So, it is not really exact match vs broad match amazon keywords war as no single match type is guaranteed to perform better than the other and each plays a valuable role in a fully-optimised advertising strategy.


amazon advertising plan template


How to use keyword match types effectively on Amazon ads?

When choosing the right match type for Amazon advertising consider:

1. Ensuring that they aligns with your business goals and budget, i.e.which keywords you want to use to increase visibility for your brand using Brand matches and which to pinpoint targeting using Exact matches and how much budget will you allocate for each.

2. Making as extensive as a research possible to determine the right keywords and match types that will meet your strategic goals.

3. Employing negative keywords to refine targeting, particularly in Broad match campaigns.

4. Organising campaigns based on match types to manage bids and budgets more effectively.


Best Practices for Amazon Ads Keyword Targeting

When it comes to maximising the impact of your Amazon Ads, nailing down your keyword targeting strategy is where the real magic happens.

Here’s what to consider when optimising keyword match types in Amazon PPC like a pro:

  • Ensure relevant content for your keywords: Let’s start with the foundation. Your ad copy and landing pages should be laser-focused on the keywords you’re targeting. Each match type has its own intent, so make sure your messaging aligns seamlessly. If you’re going broad, keep it enticingly general; if you’re going specific, make sure your ad mirrors that specificity. Users should feel like they’ve stumbled upon exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Stay in the know with continuous monitoring: Don’t just set your campaigns and forget them. Regular check-in your campaigns to keep them healthy and thriving. Analyse the performance of your keywords, keeping an eye out for the underperformers. Are certain keywords driving up costs without delivering results? Adjust your bids or consider a different match type. On the flip side, identify the high-flyers and give them a little extra love.
  • Perform A/B Testing: Every audience is a unique puzzle, and you’re the detective figuring out which pieces fit best. Experiment with different match types to see what resonates with your audience, and then refine your approach based on the results. A/B testing helps you uncover those golden nuggets of insight that can significantly impact your campaign’s success.
  • Use keyword grouping: Think of keyword grouping as your organizational superpower. Similar keywords within the same match type should be grouped together. This makes it easier to manage your bids and track performance. When you can see the full picture easily, you’re equipped to make smarter decisions. Plus, a well-organised campaign structure can save you time and headaches down the road.
  • Allocate budget effectively: Your budget is your arsenal, and how you allocate it can make or break your campaigns. Assign your budget based on the performance of each match type. High-performing match types might deserve a larger slice of the pie, while others might need a more modest share. Keep a close watch on how each type contributes to your goals and adjust your allocation accordingly.


If you require an additional set of expert eyes to review your Amazon Advertising Account, don’t hesitate to schedule our Amazon Ads Account Audit. Our team of Amazon superstars will assist you in identifying areas for improvement. You’ll receive a comprehensive 10-page assessment document, along with ongoing follow-ups to address any questions and assist with the implementation of our recommendations.


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Mastering Amazon ads keyword match types empowers you to craft strategic campaigns that capture the right audience at the right time. With Amazon advertising match types explained, you’re now equipped to navigate the spectrum of Broad, Phrase, and Exact matches, each offering its own unique advantages. Ensure to apply best practices for optimisation to make informed decisions that drive your Amazon advertising success. Stay updated with the ever-evolving landscape, and remember that constant refinement is key to achieving your advertising goals.


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