Makegoods, only backwards

From El Reg, on an interesting ad-sales policy

Of course, there are days when a campaign doesn’t reach its daily budget, when an ad receives fewer clicks than normal. And that’s where Google’s late February email comes into play. The email notified certain AdWords users that Google was tweaking their ad campaigns to include something called “automatic matching.” With this AdWords “feature,” Google automatically grabs an advertiser’s excess budget and uses it to post ads against keywords other than those the advertiser is actually bidding on. “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,” Google’s email reads. “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 your site.”

When a TV station or network doesn’t make its guaranteed audience numbers for an ad, it gives the advertiser free airtime — maybe aimed at viewers the advertiser is less interested in reaching — to make up for the shortfall. This idea of Google’s seems to be the same thing, only not free.

(Well, in some ways you can argue that it is: the advertiser said they wanted to spend $X for up to Y potential customers, and there weren’t Y people available, so to bring the spending up to $X, Google just showed the ad to a bunch of other people. At that point it depends on whether the advertiser gets a break on cost for the ads going to lower-quality prospects. I don’t even want to speculate on that.)


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