Google AdWords Modified Broad Match Keyword Tool

Google AdWords has just released the Modified Broad Match to the rest of the world. After a successful test in Canada and the UK, they decided to unleash this great new feature to all advertisers. However, implementing this would require a lot of time in Excel, so we put together a quick and dirty little tool to help you get started with modified broad match keywords today.

This simple modified broad match keyword generator will add a + sign in front of each “word” which comprise your keywords, or in front of those specific keywords you indicate. You can then add these new keywords to your campaigns using the adwords editor, the Acquisio Editor or the standard Google AdWords interface. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to tell us if we can make any useful changes to the tool. We’re listening :-)

Marc Poirier About Marc Poirier

Marc Poirier is Co-Founder and EVP.Acquisio. He is also an accomplished speaker who speaks on topics ranging from performance marketing to agency issues at events such as SES, SMX, Ad:Tech, iMedia Summit, TFM&A and OMMA. Marc also writes columns for various publications, including Search Engine Watch, Visibility Magazine, and SES Magazine. In his spare time, he loves putting worms on hooks and catching fish. You can follow him on twitter @marcpoirier and on LinkedIn.


  1. Kelly says:

    Great tool, thank you!

    It would be nice if there was an export button, and possibly a button to create new list instead of having to use back button.


  2. Hey Kelly,

    That’s a great idea. The developer working on this project just left on vacation, but I’ll be sure to let him know once his back.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Great tool, very good to have a so easy way to change all the broad keywords for the new features. I’m a little curious to see how this changes can improve the campaigns. Thanks a lot.

  4. Marc Poirier Marc Poirier says:

    Guys, we implemented your suggestions. Hope it helps!

  5. Sanjana says:

    Great tool! Saves a lot of time…I had a issue while copying & pasting keywords in excel ..some of the keywords were not successfully pasted in excel showed error #Name. But worked fine when I pasted directly in the editor. Thanks for this wonderful tool

  6. Dan Perach says:

    Thanks Marc, really appreciate the tool.

    First I thought I could easily do this myself in excel, just ad “+” after concatenating… but NO, you can’t use a + that way. So I found your great tool.

    One thing though, it exports to .tsv … you need to correct that to .csv

    thanks again

  7. Marc Marc says:

    good idea, i will have Denis look into this. Should be a breeze to do.

  8. Hi Marc,

    Nice tool for creating modified broad match keywords quickly and easily. I recently did some research on modified broad match and found modified broad match keywords to have significantly higher CTRs and significantly lower CPCs than normal broad match keywords:

    It’s definitely worth taking the time to implement modified broad match, so anything to help make modified broad match keyword creation easier is always welcome.


  9. Jochen says:

    Great tool!

    I am currently work on a automate keyword generation which should put out keyword suggestions.
    Therefore I need tools like this! Is it possible to use this tool as API?

  10. Marc,

    This is perfect… we are addicted to MBM keywords and this will save us lots of time!



  11. Great Tool Marc!

    And it shows again how your company is at the forefront of new developments in PPC given that you already have this tool ready while this new match type has only been around for a couple of months.

    All the best.

  12. Louise says:


    Just wanted to say a huge thank you. When I learned about modified broad match I must admit I panicked about how I was going to update a very large campaign with the new type of keywords. You tool is a blessing and has saved me so much time – thanks so much.

    One idea – I realise you can use your tool to choose which specific keywords you want to modify but how about which keywords you don’t, e.g. keywords like ‘for’ ‘to’ ‘a’ ‘the’. That kind of thing – just a thought.

    Thanks again, Louise

  13. Marc Marc says:

    Great idea Louise, let’s see if I can get that done for you :)

  14. Andrew Baker says:

    Great tool, thank you for sharing it… just what I needed whilst re-structuring an account today.

    Cheers :)

  15. Upasana says:

    Great Tool, will definitely love to use this in near future:)

  16. Jozef Foerch says:

    Awesome Tool and I use it all the time! Anyway that we can have it broken down by cells though so that we can swap out geo-target locations more easily? I am a huge fan of individual ad groups for each city/suburb of certain client’s campaigns and would love to generate these lists at a faster rate if I could just swap out the city names with a fixed list of keywords.

    Thanks for all you do!


  17. Kelly says:

    The export function is not working anymore, any chance it will be fixed soon?

  18. Marc Poirier Marc Poirier says:

    Hi Kelly, we are unable to reproduce the problem. Can you tell us what OS and browser you are using? Thanks!

  19. Kelly says:

    Windows 7, Firefox 9.0.1 . (Excel 2007)

  20. Marc Poirier Marc Poirier says:

    OK I am contacting the developer so he can take a peak at it with your setup… more to come soon!

  21. Marc Poirier Marc Poirier says:

    Hi Kelly, the developer tried in the same exact setup you have except he has Excel 2010 but it should have no impact since it’s a very simple file format (TSV). He would like to chat with you as he has a few ideas as to why it would not work for you – you can reach him directly at droy at acquisio dot com

  22. Nick Thorsch says:

    Uh, after 2 years, this tool doesn’t do the job, yet. But I have the solution for you. The resulting Excel tsv file creates #NAME? cells, because Excel assumes a + is a formula, so it adds = to the front of the text, rendering it useless. To make this work, bypass Excel and output the text to the HTML page or a plain text file. Speaking of which, opening the tsv file in TextEdit, WORKS. So the output file format should be changed to open the proper program, such as a .txt file. Thanks for this tool. Please let me know when it’s been updated.

  23. Gerry Routledge says:

    Hi Nick. There’s not a lot we can do to stop Excel from misinterpreting the Adwords Modified Broad Match plus sign as a formula prefix. This is industry-standard behavior that has existed since the 1980′s and Lotus 1-2-3. I don’t know a single campaign manager who isn’t moderately annoyed by this whenever they paste Google keywords into Excel. You do have lots of options though. If you want to use Excel, it’s literally a 5-second job to run Search & Replace. Just look for all instances of “=+” and replace them with “+” alone. You can also replace the =+ with ‘+. (That’s the single quote followed by the plus sign.) This inserts the apostrophe as a label prefix in every cell that previously was interpreted as a formula.

    Option Two: Simply save the TSV file to your hard drive. TSV’s are not natively associated with Excel and my Windows machine asks me what program I want to use to open the file. I can use any editor to open the file and choose a default program if I want. Of course, if you previously have selected Excel as the default program for TSV files, you can certainly change it to something else.

    Option Three: Note that the conversion tool allows you to work with complete campaign exports that show the campaign, ad group, keyword, etc., as long as the proper column headers appear in the top row. You can copy huge lists out of Acquisio’s Mass Editor and paste them in the tool above. After running the conversion, you can simply select all the text in the finished window and Copy/Paste the data back into Acquisio’s Mass Editor, using the Add/edit multiple Items window. In this way, you never open a file in any program.

    I can think of about 25 characters Google could have used instead of the plus sign to signify Modified Broad Match. I find it interesting that Google Docs Spreadsheet does NOT misinterpret the leading “+”. Do you think maybe they did this on purpose?

  24. Shawn Casey says:

    Hey Gerry,
    I’m getting an error message “<? foreach ($lines as $campaign)" when I try to use the tool today. Just wanted to give you a heads up!

  25. Vina says:

    Saving my life!

  26. Chris says:

    Awesome tool, saves so much time. If I could offer some advice, how about a line to exclude words (ex. of, and, for, with). Not words that I NEED to have in my keywords, so I have to go back and delete + signs before those.

    Otherwise great job, thanks!

  27. Rishi says:

    Awesome tool! However, it has stopped working today. I keep getting the message:


    You don’t have permission to access /tools/indexI.php on this server.

    Apache/2.2.25 (Amazon) Server at Port 80

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