Update: Google finally returned our request for comment, only to say, "We actually haven't announced anything on this and don't have any more info to share at this time-we frequently beta test new features with agency partners."
Chris Copeland, CEO of GroupM Search, wrote a piece for AdAge, saying that Google is about to push "near match" ad targeting from beta to mainstream. There is virtually no other discussion about this feature currently happening, as far as I can tell.
We reached out to Google, who readily responded to questions about the new Google+ redesign (though vague in their answers as usual), but they have so far been silent on questions related to Near Match.
"The beta, Near Match, is designed to 'enable you to safely extend the reach of your Exact and Phrase Match keywords to cover plural, misspelling, close rewrite, abbreviation and acronym variants only,'" explains Copeland. "In previewing the beta for advertisers, Google has suggested a 6.5% increase in click volume and a 9.8% increase in impression volume. Appealing for marketers, but at what cost? We know that digital auctions and publisher revenue thrive, in part, due to a lack of data to inform smarter bidding."
There was a bit of discussion about the "near exact" and "near phrase" match types back in November, which would reportedly be offered alongside of broad, broad match modified, phrase and exact. Agenda21's head of PPC, Matt Holland, wrote at the time, "From the 14th November Google will be running this new beta test match types that will slightly broaden the reach of Exact and Phrase match keywords with syntactic variants including; plurals, misspells, acronyms and abbreviations but not synonyms. The idea being that this will be for advertisers who wish to increase their coverage and volume on Exact and Phrase match keywords and help them find incremental traffic with minimum effort."
J. Prentice Parton spotted this several days ago:
— J. Prentice Parton (@JohnnyScoots) April 6, 2012
You can tell that advertisers are already getting excited about it:
According to Copeland, Google is "changing the game" as it prepares to reports its earnings on Thursday, following a report in January, which disappointed shareholders with an 8% decrease in CPCs. We talked about this earlier this week, as there seems to be concern about mobile becoming a revenue problem for Google, as the CPCs aren't increasing enough to keep up with the mobile clicks.
Google will release its Q1 earnings report on Thursday. Between CPCs and the new Google+, there should be plenty to talk about. I'm hoping Project Glass is brought up at least once. Of course there's plenty of ad revenue opportunities there: