Awhile back, exact match keywords meant exactly what the name connotes. In order for an exact match keyword to trigger a search campaign ad, the search query must have been exactly the same as the keyword, including its order, plurality, and punctuation.
In 2012, AdWords began making exceptions, so minor misspellings, differences in plurality, and abbreviations would be allowed for both exact match and phrase match keywords. While this move was largely welcomed by casual advertisers, AdWords purists were annoyed as the term ‘exact match’ no longer meant ‘exact match’. These AdWords purists were temporarily placated when AdWords allowed campaigns to turn off this “close variant” setting, giving these advertisers tighter controls on what search queries would trigger their exact match and phrase match keywords.
This “close variant” setting was removed for both Google AdWords and Bing Ads in 2014, once again upsetting these advertisers.
Now, AdWords will not just accommodate casual misspellings, but variations in order for phrase match and exact match keywords. There will also be more flexibility in search queries where prepositions are differing from exact match keywords. Words like ‘for’, ‘on’, ‘in’ or ‘at’ will be less consequential as they can be substituted in and out to trigger search queries.