Why We Won’t Use Google’s Automatic Matching Beta

Yesterday Google released it’s Automatic Matching Beta.

Automatic Matching is an opt-in feature that allows your ads to be shown on additional search queries that Google finds are both relevant and that are not covered by your keyword list.

We’ll get more into that in a moment, but first I wanted to point out some of the good things Automatic Matching has going for it.

Pros for Automatic Matching:

Cost Controlled
It will only provide additional traffic if you are spending less than your maximum daily budget in a given campaign.

No Quality Score Implications
Search queries generated from automatic matching will have no negative (or positive) effect on your Quality Score.

Negative Keywords
Your negative keywords are used to filter out results.

I could probably come up with quite a few cons, but as far as I’m concerned these three issues trump all.

Cons for Automatic Matching:

It’s not translucent!
We can see a tidy summation of what the automatic matching traffic accrued for us in the search query report, but we have no idea what the individual search terms actually are. Thus we can not add potentially good terms as keywords or poor terms as negatives. We only know how automatic matching performs as a whole, so we can not use its data to make campaign improvements.

There are keywords we don’t want to bid for!
There are probably dozens variations on any one given keyword theme. If we were on the Supermarket Sweep version of paid search management and we had two minutes to fill up our “e-cart” with keyword inventory then maybe we’d try them all, but in reality, we’ve tested most (if not all) of them and we’ve omitted many of them out for being too broad, poorly targeted, or for weak performance.

What is relevant?
Your dealership might be selling Used 2007 Honda Civics. You probably advertise under many keywords that include honda, civic, used, and car, as well as several comparable models. But where does Google draw the line? Is the V8 Vantage from Aston Martin a relevant search phrase? What is the user was specifically looking for a used model?

What if someone is simply searching for car or Honda? They are undoubtedly relevant, but probably not valuable for this particular account.

In Closing

Automatic matching is a good idea. Even the so called pros could use a hand coming up with additional keyword coverage.

That being said; As a person and a paid search manager, I would much rather be able to make my own decisions than to hold blind faith in the idea that someone or something is making decisions with my (or my clients) best interest at heart.

If Automatic Matching let us see the individual search queries, it would be a no-brainer and I would heartily recommend giving it a try. As it is today, I would not advise any of my clients to use it, and neither should you.

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