Advanced Match Bidding on Overture

Before I delve into the latest changes to the Overture DirecTraffic Center (DTC) and listings management system, I want to direct everyone’s attention to a unique opportunity to have your voice heard by the search engine marketing (SEM) industry, including the search engines.

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) launched an industry-wide survey to gauge the size and influence of search. SEMPO invites everyone involved in SEM at the agency, search engine optimization (SEO), and marketer levels to participate.

Now back to our regularly scheduled column.

Overture’s recent move to Advanced Match may have both a positive and a negative effect on marketers, depending on your preferences. Now the default setting, Advanced Match replace Broad Match and Phrase Match. It’s difficult, of course, to build an auction-based search marketplace that everyone loves. Some marketers welcome the changes to the DTC as a move toward simplification. Others like simplification but miss CPC bid control on individual match types.

We can only guess at Overture’s decision process in consolidating match types and bids. My theory is Overture wanted increased adoption of Broad and Phrase Match. This may have been due to perceived complexity in thinking about, analyzing, and deciding on four bids for each keyword listing, if you opted in to Overture’s additional match types. The following is an overview of Overture’s changes:

  • Standard Match. Standard match is an exact match plus “match driver” for misspellings and synonyms. It continues to be the default and the option selected by many marketers.

  • Phrase Match. Phrase match was shown when the phrase appears uninterrupted in the search query. It’s been folded into Advanced Match.
  • Broad Match. Broad match was when the keyword or keywords appear anywhere in the query. It’s also been folded into Advanced Match.
  • Content Match. Content Match listings are displayed only within the contextual side of the advertising network, based on a keyword being a good fit for page content. It continues to be an option for marketers through its own DTC tab.
  • Negative keyword matching. Negative keyword matching used to be applied to Phrase or Broad Match at the listing level. Now, it can be applied to Advanced Match and at the campaign level.

Users now have two bids to consider. Advanced and Standard Match are one; content is the second. Users can opt-in to Advanced Match at the same bid price they are paying for Standard Match and also opt into Content Match with separate bids (formerly, there were three possible opt-in decisions and four possible bids).

Opting in to contextual matching puts your listings in front of additional surfers as they read content. Opting in to Overture’s new Advanced Match causes your listing to be shown for both phrase and broad match types, in addition to the Standard Match for the keyword or keyword phrase. The new DTC makes negative keywords easier to add to campaigns when Advanced Match is enabled.

The ability to bid separately continues only for contextual listings. Content match remains in its own tab in the DTC. This separate tab is a great help to marketers who want content traffic, as the bid landscape illustrated in the DTC is content-specific. You can control traffic levels and visibility for content separately.

Broad- and phrase-match (i.e., Advanced Match) clicks are billed at the same CPC as Standard Match listings. Some marketers say they’ll miss the opportunity to bid differently by listing for search match types. Google’s AdWords system isn’t generally known for a high control level, due to the invisible bid landscape. But with match types, Google’s control level is actually a bit higher. You can set up different AdGroups with different match types on the same keyword. You can not only bid differently but also adjust creative based on search type.

But there’s good news, too. In Overture’s system, standard match is always displayed first. Do your keyword expansion homework and use actual searches in your broad match to create new listings in Overture, and you can bid what you want, change creative, and very specifically manage a listing to your objectives.

How do you know which actual searches relate to your listing? Overture’s Keyword Suggestion Tool can indicate any searches conducted over 25 times in the prior month, but only if you can drill down that far in the tool. Another data source is your log file (an internal log file or external Web analytics system). Some search campaign management systems report on actual keywords searched. Enabling Overture Tracking URLs can provide another data source, if your analytics system can capture it.

How much of a lift in traffic can you expect by opting in to Overture’s Advanced Match? That depends on how far your campaign has been expanded, as well as industry segment. In some industries, searchers often use long phrases that don’t often replicate (meaning they won’t show up in keyword suggestion tools). Another factor is how well your competition expanded their keyword lists. If they’ve done a good job, their Standard Match listings will show up first.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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