Defining Yandex.Direct Match Types vs Google AdWords Match Types

This week Russian Search Marketing continues to take you through some of the major differences between Google AdWords and Yandex.Direct advertising. Following yesterday’s blog on long tail key phrases, we continue today with match types.  Read on to learn about some of the mistakes you may be making with match types in your Yandex.Direct account because of Google AdWords assumptions.

Match types 

Match types are extremely useful to control which search queries trigger keywords.  However, match types on Yandex differ a bit from what most are accustomed to using.  Advertisers can set up broad match where all kinds of relevant queries will trigger keywords. Alternatively, exact match type will make ads show up if the query is identical to the keywords.

The benefits of match types are clear – using the right match types for the right keywords helps advertisers better capture their target audience.

It is critical to know the match types differences on Yandex.Direct and AdWords. The concept is similar – you have to add one of the special symbols to a keyword to set a certain match type. However, Yandex has its own set of symbols for match types:

Special Symbol Key Phrase Search Query Explanation
None tickets to Turkey ticket Turkey, Ticket to turkey cheap, turkey ticket buy online Search query has to include all of the chosen keywords, but not limited to them (in any order and grammatical form). Prepositions are omitted
+ tickets +to Turkey tickets to Turkey, turkey to ticket, tickets to Turkey  buy online Forces prepositions and conjunctions to be included in the search query
“ “ “tickets to Turkey” tickets to Turkey, ticket Turkey, Turkey to Ticket Limits the search query to the keywords inside quotation marks – excluding the longer tail
[ ] [Moscow Istanbul] tickets Moscow Istanbul ticket, tickets Moscow Istanbul, cheap tickets Moscow Istanbul Fixes order of keywords inside brackets
! !tickets to !Turkey Turkey tickets, tickets to Turkey, tickets Turkey buy online Fixes the grammatical form (plural/singular, capitalization, etc.)
tickets to Turkey -online Turkey tickets, tickets to turkey buy cheap, turkey ticket Excludes the keyword from the query


The first issue with match types is that advertisers think that default match types are the same for Yandex and other systems.  In fact, the default match type on Yandex is something like broad match modified in AdWords.  User query has to contain the whole key phrase (or a longer tail variation) to trigger an ad.  Note that the keywords will be never triggered by synonyms – on Yandex this is a completely different feature. It is called “Additional Relevant Phrases” and controlled separately at a campaign level.

Another common mistake is assuming match type symbols are the same in both systems. This assumption leads to uploading a keyword list with special symbols from AdWords into Yandex.Direct. Here is what happens in this scenario:

  • +tickets +to +Turkey – in AdWords would mean a broad match modifier. In Yandex.Direct “+” would just force to in the search query.  Tickets to Turkey can be used instead.  As seen below, the amount of impressions for both key phrases is the same.

turkey ticket 1

keyword 2

  • [tickets to Turkey] – instead of an AdWords exact match this would fix the word order.  This phrase can be triggered by a long tail query, like buy tickets to Turkey online cheap.
  • “Tickets to Turkey” – Yandex.Direct will limit the queries to just these keywords. So the key phrase will not be triggered by a Tickets to Turkey buy right now query.  The difference in traffic for these queries is seen below.

keyword 3

The above leads to displaying ads to a broader audience than required (or limiting your audience beyond any reason).

Again, the key to success here is adapting keyword lists rather than simply copying them. Yandex.Direct advertisers, check if to make sure your match types are configured correctly in Yandex.Direct!

Check in tomorrow for the next blog on ad groups!