Have Extra Money in Your Google AdWords Account? Google May Spend it With "Automatic Matching"

Feb 25, 2008 • 7:09 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

This is pretty amazing, Dan Thies reports some Google AdWords customers are being opted into a beta named "Automatic Matching." Automatic Matching is an algorithm that will come into play when Google sees that you are not using all of your maximum budget for the month or the day. If Google sees you have extra money in your account, they want it and will take it by automatically matching your ads for keywords you did not specify in your keyword match list. Here is the email being sent to some AdWords customers:

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.

I have emailed Google for some clarification and confirmation on the exact details of this new beta.

As you can imagine, most of the SEMs in the forums are not happy about this. But for the small advertiser who doesn't have enough time to manage their own campaigns, maybe this is a good thing? Who knows.

Forum discussion at Sphinn, DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld.

Update: Here is a statement from Google:

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide advertisers with innovative ways to reach users online, Google is currently testing a feature known as 'Automatic Matching.' This feature is currently in a limited beta with a small number of advertisers. We have no news to announce at this time regarding developments in our AdWords product offering.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: February 22, 2008


David Rothwell

02/25/2008 02:29 pm

From what I'm reading, this seems to be an extension to the "broad expanded" match type so that it crosses campaigns which still have unused daily budget in them. In other words, your keyword inventory will still get impressions and clicks even when your daily budget is used, if another campaign in your account can subsidise it. broad expanded can be a blessing or a curse depending on what you're selling and how you are tracking conversions. They can be useful as a source of extra traffic, but only if it converts profitably. Combined with the Search Query report and your server referrer logs, broad match can generate some excellent and unforeseen keyword opportunities. I run these reports weekly and build up new keywords and negatives religiously. One of my advertisers has 1,232 negatives, more than all the other keywords combined. If you want to avoid the possible risk of it, simply use phrase and exact match only. Advertisers selling specific makes and model numbers of equipment take heed, as you don't want your "hp ink cartridges" shown against "oki print cartridges" or some such. For an illustration of what your ads will be seen against for expanded match, simply google your own product or service keywords and see what comes up. Then exclude these as negatives. So a number of questions arise. What keyword inventory are they serving these "automatic match" types against? Broad expanded? What reporting capability will there be? Can we see what keywords came into play? Can we track conversions against them still? Will this option parasitically drain other campaigns? What control do we have? What implication does this have for Quality Score? I look forward to learning more. I suspect and hope that this is just another way Google can give us more options, with the required level of control, and let the less attentive advertisers continue to pay the "stupid tax" at the expense of those willing to invest the time, knowledge and experience in their testing and tracking. Best wishes!


02/25/2008 05:01 pm

David, you make some very interesting points. It will be interesting to see how many people start using this as part of their campaigns. Let's face it, the only reason google have put this in place is to scoop those left over daily budgets in to their own pockets. Whether it actually gets more conversions for adWords users is another thing all together

No Name

02/25/2008 07:00 pm

I can't believe that, what gives Google the right to take what isn't theirs.


02/26/2008 02:08 pm

Does this only apply to Max CPC bidding? Is this broadened matching feature also to be rolled out across the automated bidding facilities such as Budget Optimiser? Presumably, if conversions are your goal, given the choice, you will still be better off using their conversion optimiser.


02/27/2008 02:59 pm

Is Google trying to force people to lower their daily budget? They are giving their customers no other choice with such a greedy move.

Brent Hodgson

04/13/2008 03:05 pm

All I can say is that I hope that there's a way to turn it off. It's a great idea from the perspective of getting people to visit your site - and a horrible idea when it comes to getting conversions. This can only dilute the quality of keywords in the marketplace.

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