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Could have been a syntax error, but glad that it worked for you! I always click on the fx on the left hand side of the formula box if I ever have a question on syntax because it can auto populate the formula for you if you click it.
I would agree that @grossal 's response is a bit more dynamic, but the only thing that neither solution appears to support so far is the idea that the string may contain more than one of your query strings.
For example, a string may contain both XXX and DEF, the find and replace tool does not cater for this, nor would the formula method.
In this case I would look to do one of either a batch macro (probably more performant), or an append (probably simpler to understand). I've attached an example of the latter. I guess it depends on if this kind of scenario can exist in your data.