Why is the search engine serving that ad?!? Seeing your ads in some strange places? In response to some unrelated searches? On search phrases you wouldn’t and shouldn’t advertise on? On your competitor’s trademarks even though you don’t advertise on their marks? Seeing the wrong ad served when you have a much more targeted ad that wasn’t served? Welcome to broad match. It’s getting broader, and it’s forcing smart marketers to change tactics. Consider the following SERP from MSN (click image to enlarge) Notice that the ad in position 5 (third down on the right) is for car parts. The search term was “fish”. The explanation from our MSN rep as to how this could happen actually sounded like this:
Well ‘fish’ could be linked to ‘bass’, and ‘bass’ is not only a type of fish, but a part of a car speaker, and car speakers are car parts…Ugh! In the past, the positioning and ad choice was determined by the bid times the click-through-rate (cum Quality Score) chosen from the most relevant keywords. The engines, particularly Google and MSN have learned that Bid times CTR maximizes profits per impression, so who needs relevancy? This impacts PPC performance in three ways:
- The retailer pays more per click than they could;
- they get less traffic than they could because the ad copy is less targeted and click-through rates will be lower; and
- the conversion rate of that traffic is worse because the landing pages are not as well chosen.
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