Overture Looks for Deep Matches

Overture Services on Monday introduced broader matching options for advertisers, to bring keyword ads to search queries without a specific match.

The two new matching options, Phrase Match and Broad Match, will serve up advertisers’ keyword listings even when their search term is not entered exactly. In this way, Overture hopes to extend its paid listings to ever more searches.

With Phrase Match, an advertiser’s ad will be served if its keyword listing appears at all in a search query. For example, an advertiser owning the “Hawaii vacation” keyword could be matched to a query for “family Hawaii vacations.” Broad match takes this a step further, requiring only that a keyword term appear somewhere in the query. In that case, the “Hawaii vacation” advertiser’s listing could appear in searches for “Hawaii beach vacations.”

Overture will use Phrase and Broad Match listings to fill in when its database does not have regular Standard Match listings for terms. In addition, advertisers can rule out certain queries through listing excluded words. Advertisers can change their bids for each matching level.

The new matching options follow rival Google’s similar offering. Google allows advertisers to choose broad, phrase and exact matching. Unlike Overture, however, Google’s default matching is broad, not exact. Google also allows advertisers to rule out searches containing certain words. “Our challenge is how do you get advertisers to get leads on those hundreds of thousands of terms without managing hundreds of thousands of keywords,” he said.

With the new Phrase and Broad Match, advertisers can start to dip into those searches without the trouble of tracking thousands of additional keywords, he said.

Slade said the new matching options would work well for both esoteric queries and very specific searches, such as those for products on individual unit level.

The changes will help Overture make more money off the many commercial searches that currently are ad-free. According to earlier company estimates, only 15 percent to 20 percent of clicks from commercial searches are paid.

Overture also released a number of other advertiser features. It added a greater level of customization to its Direct Traffic Center, where advertisers manage their accounts. The Overture also bore the first fruits of its Keylime acquisition with a simple analytics tool that allow advertisers to track conversions from their keyword listings. Advertisers will also have the option of using tracking URLs to analyze the keyword-generated traffic generated in their log files.

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