by Steven LaLonde – PPC Manager at DragonSearch

Some of you may have noticed a new feature within your AdWords account called ‘Automatic Matching’.

This new AdWords feature is in Beta so you may be one of the lucky (or not so lucky?) people who have been selected to test this new feature. Note: If you see the message in your AdWords account, you’ve been automatically opted in to this feature.

Once you learn a bit more about the feature and what it does, you may want to opt out.  Or at least give it a chance while keeping a close eye on it and the affects it has on your account.

So what is it?

Automatic matching is a new feature which, when enabled, lets Google ‘extend’ your campaign’s reach by displaying your ads for search queries that are relevant but are not already triggered by your keyword list.

To a PPC newbie this may sound great! Another exciting new Google feature! After all, Google makes it sound exciting enough…. Here’s the exact message:

“New! Automatic Matching has been enabled in your account.Your ads will now show for additional relevant search queries based on the keywords, ad text, and landing pages in your ad groups.  You can opt out by visiting a keyword-targeted campaign, and then clicking on edit campaign settings.

Now here’s the – potential – problem.

I hate to say it, but Google isn’t always the best at ‘Automatically’ determining relevant keywords to display your ads on.  If you’ve ever looked at the ACTUAL search queries which have triggered your ads and clicks, you already know this.

Google has been known to display some ads for totally irrelevant searches, especially if you’re using broad match without extensive negative keywords.

Further, Google states that Automatic Matching will monitor performance and work to show your ads on new relevant queries which yield a high CTR and Cost per Click, similar to your other keywords.

Problem is, Click-through-Rate and Cost per Click are sort of lame performance metrics for Google to concentrate on.  At the end of the day CTR doesn’t mean much to most of our clients.  Conversion rates do!

Worst of all, it looks like Google won’t even be showing us the actual keywords which have triggered the Automatic Matching!  What good is automatic matching if we can’t see the new, supposedly ‘relevant’ keywords and phrases which have been used to trigger our ads?

I suspect Google doesn’t want to show advertisers this information since many of the words and phrases which trigger automatic matching will be completely irrelevant.  This would really irritate many advertisers, and Google would not want to have several thousand advertisers up in arms over the totally irrelevant clicks Google is displaying and charging them for.  “You showed my ad for what search query?!”

Hate to say it, but Automatic Matching sounds like a sneaky new way for Google to drain PPC budgets.  I hope I’m wrong.

Automatic matching was set to begin displaying ads on June 3rd for those – automatically – opted in. We can’t wait to see what happens with this one.  It looks like only time – and solid conversion data – will tell.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 and is filed under Pay-Per-Click.

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