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Using Google AdWords’ new Automatic Matching feature = conversion rates dropping like it’s not hot

Received an alert today in one of our client’s Google AdWords account that a new feature called Automatic Matching was enabled.  For those who don’t know what this service is, this is what the official Google documentation identifies it as being:

Automatic matching is an optional feature that helps your ads reach targeted traffic missed by your keyword lists. It works by analyzing the ads, keywords, and landing pages in your ad group. It then shows your ads on search queries relevant to this information.

When automatic matching is first enabled, it dedicates a short period of time to gather information about your campaign. During this period, you won’t see any change to your traffic levels. Once automatic matching has evaluated your campaign, your ads will start to show on additional relevant search queries.

I’m not so sure this would be helpful… in fact, I think this would only hurt our (stellar) conversion rates for this client.  I mean, if I want ads to show on “additional relevant search queries”, I would have discovered them by our thorough keyword research process.  And if they didn’t show in that initial research phase, then I would certainly think that we would have discovered additional keyword phrases by investigating the # of impressions, clicks, CTR, etc. for all of our individual keywords.

To me, Automatic Matching seems like an ideal tool for the lazy.  If you’re managing a client’s PPC account, you assure them that they’ll be showing up for “relevant” keyword phrases for their products / services, switch on the Automatic Matching feature, and let the campaign sit & stew all the while your conversion rates are dropping like it’s not hot and your cost per conversion price-point is rising faster than your Mom’s famous blueberry muffins in the oven.

Simply put, Google AdWords’ new Automatic Matching feature is one to steer clear of if you’re a PPC strategist that does his / her job thoroughly.  I’ll tip my hat to ‘the Googs’ though – I like the general idea of looking for relevant keyword phrases and such depending on what you’re currently running and what’s on your landing page… but I don’t like the automatic inclusion of those keywords into your campaign without knowing (until after the click) which keywords are deemed “relevant.”

About Christian Bullock