Overture Ranks Broad Matched Ads Lower

    August 3, 2004

One of the many sessions at Day 1 of the SES conference concerned targeting search engine advertising through the use of broad match. The big guns of Google and Overture were well represented, and their presentations were educational, to say the least.

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Broad matching, loosely defined, is targeting keywords in a loose manner in order to have your ads appear based on keywords that have been queried by search users. For instance, if the keywords you are planning on broad matching are “mountain bikes” and users search for the terms “bikes that can climb a mountain”, your ad will appear; as opposed to exact match, which requires that the keywords selections must exactly match the query.

John Slade, Director of Product Management at Overture revealed some interesting facts about Overture that I, for one, was not aware of.

First off, John explained that broad matching is a difficult task because it requires matching billions of searches to millions of advertisements. Because of this, John recommended using negative, or stop words. These are words that you do not want to match your ad. A good example was given Dana Todd of SiteLab International, who spoke at the Buying Search Engine Advertising session. Dana said that her company runs a campaign for a hot tub company. Their stop words were “naked” and “sex”. The company isn’t interested in being associated with those who are looking for adult pictures of people in hot tubs. So when these words were queried, the company’s ad did not appear.

John went on to say that broad matching doesn’t work well with specific targets. If you are targeting a specific area, Overture offers other types of matching services, like standard and phrase matching. However, the item that stood out to me in John’s presentation was the admission that Overture gives relevancy considerations to phrase and exact match ads over broad matched ads.

Although no exact reason was given as to why, the thinking is that, much like Google’s ad algorithm change, preference is being given to reward those using exact or phrase matches. While they aren’t punishing broad match, Google and Overture are giving preferential placement over broad matched terms and campaigns.

One final tidbit, during Google’s presentation, there was no mention of their improved algorithm that affects broad matched campaigns.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.