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Automatic Matching Beta - Ultra Broad Match



4:33 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm surprised there's no word here about the beta Automatic Matching feature Google has quietly started to propose to some advertisers/agencies. From what I'm reading on SEOFastStart blog, Google's gonna start 2/28 a beta of a feature in AdWords that finds accounts where budgets aren't being fully spent and then automatically matches ads in those accounts to whatever additional queries Google wants to in order to spend 100% of the budget.

A few AdWords advertisers in the last 48 hours have received this email from their Google account manager:

"I'm excited to tell you that you have been selected to participate in a beta for our new Automatic Matching feature which will be starting on February 28th.

Automatic Matching automatically extends your campaign's reach by using surplus budget to serve your ads on relevant search queries that are not already triggered by your keyword lists. By analyzing the structure and content of your website and AdWords campaigns, we deliver more impressions and clicks while maintaining your current CTRs and CPCs.

For example, If you sold Adidas shoes on your website, Automatic Matching would automatically crawl your landing page and target your campaigns to queries such as: "shoes" "adidas" "athletic", etc., and less obvious ones such as "slippers" that our system has determined will benefit you and likely lead to a conversion on your site.

Be assured that automatic matching will try to never exceed your budget. If you're already meeting your daily budgets, automatic matching will have a minimal effect on your account."


9:30 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I hope they don’t implement it like they did expanded broad match. You can’t opt out.

Ultra broad match = ultra theft.

Just my 2 cents.


9:42 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For many webmasters with Google ads, this could be good. For the buyers of ads...

If this something you can turn on and off, Ultra will work for some and not for others. It will depend on the product, the market and the web site. I can see Google urging ad buyers to try it.

If this is something that cannot be turned off or is difficult to turn off... Well (and this is a very harsh thing to say) Google is trying to move itself closer to broadcast television and radio, where you have much less of of an idea how your ad is working. This is not good.

This is interesting, however, in how it goes back to Google's roots in reading what is on the web and what is going on within the web. The only way one can really test it is in the real world, however.

Keep it optional, Google. And make it clear what is what. The broadcast ad model may not be evil, but it's close enough to it for my taste.


9:51 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If this something you can turn on and off

I am afraid they will upgrade the broad matched keywords to ultra broad match and say: if you don't want it just use phrase match. They've done it with broad-expanded broad match. It would be really nice if they just added and extra match type to the existing ones but they did not - greed.


10:02 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

So how many have actually received this email?

From the sound of things I think this is a bad idea, hopefully not coming out of beta!


10:07 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey Chinara,

When where the approximate dates for these adwords changes?
broad-expanded broad match


10:24 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's no different than having your local grocery store throw in some extra items, charge you for it, and tell you they thought you might like to try them.


11:11 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Brett_Tabke: I am baffled as to why you and others would be outraged at G trying to help you work out excess inventory

In one of our niches it is quite simple - it is unprofitable.

G$$gle charges so much per click that one has to either subsidize G$$gle traffic with other income, hope for the 2nd and 3rd sale, which as we all remember didn't work out for a lot of .coms in Bubble 1.0. Or limit ads to fewer better converting KWs.


11:25 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

More traffic equals more cash. I welcome this feature if the traffic is targeted enough.


12:28 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Tourz...If that's the case, then I have 1 billion "targetted hits" to sell you for a mere 100k ;)


12:53 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

More traffic = more cash only works for Adsense...not Adwords. Or at least not in my experience. To be successful I need to be focused on converting words and excluding non-converting words.

Not all traffic is considered equal.

If you don't watch your account closely, Adwords, will send you so much garbage traffic you'd be amazed. And I suspect it will only get worse. And don't forget for all non-relevant traffic, they still charge real money.


12:58 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Big G is feeling the heat. With Microsoft going after Yahoo and Facebook making a killing with social ads, they are now grasping for every penny they can get before market forces squeeze them. Just like nobody thought in 1997 that Google would rise to this size thanks to a good search engine, nobody every thought anything of facebook until they broke out this year and now added social ads, which from my experience are WAY better than adwords. I have moved all my clients to FB and roi is up 500% and your ad shows up on the users's friend newsfeed so you get bonus traffic for free AND it shows up on partner sites.


1:30 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

momotan, do you work for facebook? :)

Such a glowing recommendation. It doesn't work for my industry, but for many it is probably a great way to advertise. I know with LinkedIN, they end up showing many non-relevant results no matter what or who I am looking for. To be honest, I haven't expolored the facebooks ads.

The Big G, is quickly becoming the Little G. I'm hoping they become Pathetic G. Just like Findwhat, for you OG's. Then they can be bought by Miva and become 1 big happy family.


2:26 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If Automatic Matching indeed is “ultra broad” matching similar to Yahoo and MSN’s, February 28, 2008 may be the start of downfall for the big G.

Google thrived on specificity, and Google’s success was based upon their simple approach that triggered a true democratization of advertising. Google provided all levels of advertisers the tools to target specific consumer segments, and never before a single media company attracted so many of the small businesses to advertise.

Here is an illustration. If Google decreases the specificity of their AdWords match, the overall CPC will most definitely increase, since the larger advertisers with means to better monetize each visitor, thereby have the ability to bid higher CPC, will be able to scoop up the niche searches. A small business with a niche product used to be able to bid a smaller CPC to appear in top positions on searches done by a niche group of consumers. When the larger advertisers bidding higher CPC get easy access to these niche searches through Automatic Matching, the small businesses’ ads will no longer appear in top positions. Eventually, when enough of the larger corporations get access to all niche searches (when the beta stage is over), then it might be game over for the small guys, as their ads will appear well beyond the first page.

When the small businesses drop out of the bidding pyramid, a lot of strategic implications will emerge. Google will face higher concentration of advertiser power. Google will lose their prime differentiator of the perception of being a company that does “no evil”. Etc. There is no doubt that in the short-term, Google’s profit will increase. But down the road, Google may face a similar fate as Yahoo.

A lot of small investors sold Google stock on February 25, 2008, the day this news spread.


3:31 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, finding keywords isn't our problem, its getting rid of them. And with lead to sales time of 3-6 months its sometimes painful as it is.


6:19 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AdWords traffic and conversions has been so consistent for us that I basically just let it run, with the odd glance at analytics to see how things can be tweaked. I usually only have two or three ad versions running which have basically the same title. Broad match all the way, 20% bids for content network.

Our conversion rate has been consistent for years both in natural SERPs and AdWords so I know instantly when traffic is low quality and make adjustments to suit.

Your title and ad copy should serve to weed out the people that aren't interested in buying. If your title and ad text is too broad, too appealing, then broad match will hurt your ROI.

I wouldn't want to play with a product that has low margins or that is in too broad of a niche. As a few people have said, trying to please everyone is counter-productive.

[edited by: Tourz at 6:47 am (utc) on Feb. 26, 2008]


7:15 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I can see how there is a demand for such a feature from advertising agencies who charge clients a percentage of spend. It saves them a lot of work trying to find relevant keywords AND Google makes them more money by spending more of the budget. Publishers might also be keen on this as they might see an increase in revenue from adsense.

But from a purist perspective, this feature is utter rubbish. Finding keywords is not difficult if you know what you're doing.

In a way, this feature makes the search network more like the content network: you'll get tons of traffic, but a large part of it is likely to be junk. Just like you have to weed out unwanted sites from the content network (and there are just too many of them) with this broad match feature you'll end up having to negative match a lot more than before.

Those of you who welcome the feature, i advise you to check your server logs, and examine the extended broad matching google does on your keywords. You might be surprised to discover what Google considers 'relevant' keywords.

Fair enough, no one will be forced to use this feature, so why should i care? Well for one thing, there are just too many clueless advertisers out there who just want to spend their budgets and they'll be even more encouraged now to just flood the system with semi-relevant ads and price other people out of the market.

It's not that i welcome competition. In fact, that's the beauty of adwords, that it is (or was) a merit based system. Now, it is becoming less and less so. To put it crudely, every idiot with a budget can now rely on Google to spend his money for him. The trend toward efficiency and effectiveness is being reversed and Google is becoming a sponge for advertising budgets.


7:56 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good point Tomas. It doesn't really matter if a percentage of advertisers opt out of the program because Google will get their intended result. More advertisers competing for words on a global scale, increases Google's revenue at the expense of Advertisers.

For Example:

If I am advertising for only "Blue Widgets" and google ultra matches me to "Red Widgets" even though I don't sell "Red Widgets" all advertisters lose and Google wins. My unintended ad for "red widgets" makes my campaign less successful and increases the cost per acquisition for those intending to advertise for "Red Widgets".

If before ultra there are 100 advertisers competing for "Red Widgets", after ultra there will be significantly more advertisers competing thus driving up CPC. And decreasing CPA.


8:10 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Expanded broad match has proven to be a disaster for many savvy agencies/ advertisers. G decides to add in e.g. models you don't sell.
This sounds like an ultra disaster.
So if I sell shoes you'll show my ads when people type slippers?
So much for relevance....
Did Looksmart buy Google when I wasn't looking? This 'strategy' smells like Looksmart 2003/ 2004 post microsoft....


8:22 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Isn't 'unused inventory' somebody's money?

Surely, this should be at the very least optional?


9:10 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

markd: Yes, it's Google's :D

couldn't resist...


11:46 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'd like to see how the negative keywords are handled - if I'm advertising on 'book' with a negative on 'widget', I'm hoping they won't match me to 'gizmo books'.


11:55 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

'Broader match' means 'less targetted'.

1. Adwords users will spend more money to get more traffic of less quality.
2. Adsense users of quality content sites will get more untargetted ads annoying their visitors.

OK, there will be more money in the game, but not for the benefit of honest advertizers and honest publishers.
Is G suggesting that we should build even more MFA sites? Jeeez.

Looks like a bad move.
No, thanks.

handsome rob

2:21 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

When Yahoo Search Marketing decided that they were going to spend my money where they wanted, regardless of my objections, I slashed my YSM budget by over 75%. I'll happily do the same with Google if they continue on this path -- I don't *need* paid traffic.


4:16 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AWA, a response to one of your statements:

This feature is not intended to 'exhaust the budget' - rather it is only meant to deliver additional traffic where performance metrics such as CTRs and CPCs stack up well against the adgroups current CTR and CPC. If there is no additional relevant traffic to direct to the advertisers campaigns, automatic matching will not spend additional money.

I've seen a tendency for google to equate CTR on ads to relevancy. This is piggy-headed thinking because advertisers who track ROI closely know that certain modifiers in key-phrases signify the intent to buy. Phrases without those important modifiers leave the clicker's intent entirely up in the air. So features such as expanded broad match and this feature are about making google more money and not helping us in the least.

Now, I understanding brand advertisers, with what I like to call "stupid money" may perceive this to be a great bargain, but then again, they are used to buying super-bowl ads....


5:20 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

When where the approximate dates for these adwords changes?
broad-expanded broad match

It was a while ago i think around august 2007 and no opt out by the way.

I had to decrease max PPC bids through many broad keywords and increase my negative list.


6:01 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If they're looking for more money, why not loosen the quality score standards? I've seen a lot of sites been thrown into quality score hell when they rank high for the keywords they want to buy and there is little to no one buying ads for that phrase. Seems a better solution than screwing over advertisers by sending them what will most likely be irrelevant keywords.


6:16 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

With Google's stock down 10% in the last 48 hours on Comscore data showing decreasing click volumes in search, acknowledging a few truths as we think about the possible Automatic Matching beta seems appropriate:

1)Advertisers need growth, and matching broader than Exact Match serves an advertiser need. However, best practice is not to rely on Broad Match, EBM or Automatic Matching; best practice is to diligently build large keyword lists with the mix of Exact, Phrase and Broad that ROI data supports, as described well recently by Rimm-Kaufman Group on SEL:

Likewise, the corollary to (1) above is that Broad Match, EBM and this new Automatic Matching are, as I believe AWA would concur, not match types advertisers should depend on and in lieu of the hard work that goes with (1).

2) As has been shown by people much smarter than me, broader matching options have the pernicious effect of getting more advertisers more directly in competition with each other, which benefits Google directly and certainly moreso than would be the case if advertisers held to strategy (1) more often [I highly recommend Blogation's take on this phenomena: [blogation.net ]. Google is a business whose #1 goal is to make money, and I would love - just once - for a Google employee to acknowledge this self-evident reality of the broad matching options they have introduced rather than stick to the utopian BS (IMHO) that management feeds them and they in turn feed us. Frankly, we're not idiots and shouldn't be treated as such; the SEM community can have a more productive discussion with the search engines around match types if and only if the SE's themselves acknowledge that yield maximization guides them morally just as much as 'Do No Evil'. Interestingly, they do just that on their investor earnings calls, so why not here?

3) Free markets have always been - and forever will be - more efficient than governed markets. When you have 77% marketshare stateside and 84-92% in Europe, introducing an opt-out feature that goes against (1) [laissez-faire SEM?] is market manipulation. It's G's right to do that obviously, but boy wouldn't it be better for the continued health and longevity of the SEM industry (and G within it) for Google to stick with the more difficult but high-quality path? Help every advertiser find his/her right match strategy, forgo short-term profits for long-term viability, and fanatically supportthe analytics and SEM community rather than undermine them with free products that blatantly leverage G's monopoly.

4) This strategy of focusing on helping brand advertisers' agencies spend bigger budgets in search is a good one, but you can't suck a chicken through a straw. Google should take the more difficult path of helping brand advertisers understand the strategy and tactics for translating offline business goals into scalable campaigns that target demographics through search activity.

[[b]edited by: shorebreak at 6:19 pm (utc) on Feb. 26, 2008]


6:16 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Your new customers are online, but they might not be typing in your exact key words at this moment. Would you like to focus their attention back to your topic? Broad match. If it doesn't work, don't use it.


6:49 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


[finance.yahoo.com ]

The PPC wall is because they have made paid search SIGNIFICANTLY less profitable. The have lost site of quality and gone after the quick buck at advertisers expense.


6:58 pm on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What is so amazing is if I sold "adidas shoes" on my website and absolute matched [slippers], I would get killed by quality score do to the fact that I don't sell slippers, mention slippers in the ad or on the landing page.

So it is really cool that all my work towards greater relevance can have been avoided by just using broad match.

Google, I have just pulled out my remaining three hairs....

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