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Matched content beta

Google has introduced a new 'matched content' ad unit for self promoting.

     
11:15 am on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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OK, so the big G introduced its 'match content' beta today. From what I can tell it's essentially a free ad unit you can use to advertise your own content. It links to similar content from your site and doesn't count toward your ad-per-page limit.

Trouble is, they don't seem to work. I've been trialling these matched content units on several pages for three hours or so, and none of them have actually shown any content. I just get big white holes in my site.

Has anyone tested and had any luck with them? I'd like to use them because they sound ideal for my site, but they need to fill, dammit.

[support.google.com...]
12:47 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just tried them. Are they similar to "related post" widget? They don't seem to work. What ad size did you choose, responsive or custom size?
12:57 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I tried both. One has just showed some content, in the form of visual links elsewhere in my site, but it's pretty damn ugly.
12:59 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Mine showed another ad unit. Perhaps the new code is still gathering data from our site and it will take about a day?
1:03 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's working now for me! It's like "related content" and has a title "powered by Google". Pretty nifty I think as it is not database intensive than other related post plugins.
1:08 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if Goog will insert a sponsored ad inside the match content similar to Outbrain or Taboola. That would be awesome! I think Goog created this to compete with Outbrain and Taboola. Very clever business move.
1:14 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What unit are you using it with, jbayabas? Mine is just too damn ugly to leave up.
1:17 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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ad size: Custom Size with 2:1 ratio (mine is 512x250).

ad type: Match Content
1:19 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How do I find this new ad unit, and have you seen any articles regarding the new unit?
Thanks,
1:21 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Go to Settings > Site Management

You need to claim your site if you haven't already. If it's approved, you will see "Approved" in green color with a check mark under "Match Content" column on the right side.
2:31 pm on Apr 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The matched content ads are not available to everyone apparently. You need a certain level of traffic and minimum number of unique pages.
8:09 pm on Apr 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The Matched Content unit does not seem to "match" the articles it's linking to which is disappointing. I'm not sure if it's because it's still on beta or it will require more time to gather data from my site to accurately match the article and links to my site?
1:08 am on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Can I ask a question - if this ad unit advertises content from your own site - what use is it as you can put that content in the ad space anyway?

It seems that the best way to use this would be to use the matched content - track where users are clicking to on your site and then put your own links to that content in place.
6:35 am on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suspect it's to increase engagement and reduce the bounce rate, by enticing users who come via search to visit other pages on your site. But as jbayabas says, the actually content matching is poor. My CM units are just pulling random but popular pages from other areas of the site, however they have nothing to do with content on the page itself. It's of no use to me, I'd prefer to add "related pages" manually than leave it to chance.
6:37 am on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suspect it's to increase engagement and reduce the bounce rate, by enticing users who come via search to visit other pages on your site. But as jbayabas says, the actually content matching is poor. My CM units are just pulling random but popular pages from other areas of the site, however they have nothing to do with content on the page itself. It's of no use to me, I'd prefer to add "related pages" manually than leave it to chance.
12:32 pm on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree with jbayabas. This definitely looks like a first step towards adding paid Content Discovery to AdSense. Given the success of Outbrain and Taboola, this makes total sense. As a publisher, I'm looking forward to it.
3:33 pm on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I tried it. So far it kinda looks like ads (I picked the responsive one). It's too early to say good/bad but I like that it is not database intensive. The suggested links/pages in there do seem unrelated to the page. I think over time Google will know which pages people are likely to want to visit next and that's what they'll serve up (further tracking/profiling of individuals). I suspect this is a competition thing, they released this due to similar things out there already.

I feel like this will some day this will be used to benefit Google Now. They are doing the thinking for you so you don't have to. You'll get to the bottom of the article, and before you get there they'll know which article you want to see next and it will be there in the matched content box.
5:32 pm on Apr 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yea well. Be careful. I also think there will be Content Discovery eventually. I tried that for a while with my Disqus comment plugins, and for a while, it was okay. But the "content" it was discovering got worse and worse, and eventually someone (Maybe Matt Cutts, not sure) at Google mentioned that aggressive use of that kind of thing could be a site quality issue. We all know that the search people don't talk to the ad people (above the fold algo change, anyone?) so when it *does* move to Content Discovery, watch closely what shows up there. Me, I gave up on any Content Discovery. Now I just have links from my own sites.
6:34 pm on Apr 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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We're giving this a spin. The units are getting smarter and promoting pretty good content. Revenue, however, is down and they are getting very few clicks per impression.

It looks like users might be ignoring these, since they look too much like those "Around The Web" sinkholes. We'll stick with it a little longer, but it looks like these aren't worth the space they're taking up.
8:37 pm on Apr 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've had it up for a couple of days now and I must say the matched content is more relevant now.

Interesting observation, on smaller screens I'm seeing a grey bar in it titled "Recommended For You", with one thumbnail pic on the left and a link in text under the recommended text. On a wider screen, it's a bunch of thumbnail pics with a few words underneath, kind of a filmstrip style.

This looks totally different from the first day or two after I put it up. So this is very much a beta.
7:11 pm on May 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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To those who have tried Matched Content, have you seen a change in your pages/session?
3:28 am on May 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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yes, ctr dropped
11:41 am on May 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Which is totally logical and has no effect on your earnings. Should see an increase in pageviews as well
11:49 pm on May 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed today that the Matched Content ad I placed on my site is occasionally showing promoted links to YouTube Videos. The CPC is really low and I don't recall Google informing me that they would be showing promoted links in the Matched Content ad. Not saying it's a bad thing but unless the CPC goes up it might not be worth having this on a site.