So there I was, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I had a conversion on one of my campaigns (ALWAYS exciting) but I couldn't attribute it to any of the keywords in the adgroup it was showing up for.  "Well!  How can THAT be?!", says I.

After running a search query to investigate further, I found the little miracle keyword that so silently and wonderfully threw a conversion my way.  I found it, and it was not a broad, exact, or even phrase match.  It was Automatic.  That's right!  It's not an option that you just choose like the others, but in fact a beta that Google inserted on various accounts with the "you need to do nothing in order for this feature to be turned on" type of message.

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Of course, I remember getting the email, and seeing the message in account, but this was the first conversion that it actually sent along, showing it's potential value.

Now you gotta love those folks over at Google.  It's an optional beta that you can opt in and out of at will, so if you are the type who likes to forever have your hands deep in your accounts, like a heart surgeon rhythmically massaging the life through your campaigns, then this is actually a pretty cool tool that will allow you to see some of the keywords you are missing.  It also presents you with an amazing opportunity to build out your negative keyword lists extensively.  If you are the type that gets excited to get in and run through your accounts to see what they did yesterday, then you can catch a lot of info in the search query report.

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Image Courtesy: M13.ca

Of course, nothing is for free.  If you are the type who prefers to set up your stuff, let it run for a while, and check on it intermittently or further down the road, well then you had better opt out of this beta option if it is active on any of your campaigns.  The implications can be costly if you let it roam freely.  Be sure to treat it like your child.  Always be aware of what it is up to on the net.

Although Google tries to approximate the performance that you have developed for your accounts, like any child, this new option has the potential to get into quite a bit of mischief.  You see, when automatic matching is first enabled, it takes a little bit of time to get info about your campaigns such as which ads deliver the best results, what your average CPC is, your average CTR, and how much budget is available for it to play with aside from the budget YOUR work is currently using.  "Automatic matching will continue to improve indefinitely as long as your campaign is accruing clicks and impressions."  If you aren't going to be there to help it learn, what bad habits might it pick up all on it's own?  How much of your budget might it decide belongs to Automatic match if you don't watch?  What if your business is seasonally driven?  What if you are accountable to conversions over all else?

Personally, I LOVE that Google has built this new option in, but by no means am I prepared to let it roam freely without checking in on it and ensuring it is behaving itself regularly, and teaching it right from wrong in each campaign.

Here is a link in AdWords so that you can learn a bit more about what Google has to say about it.  It is worth checking out.

https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=63323

As always, all comments are welcome!

Cheers!

Doug Gebhardt
aka The Doug