Keyword Free Paid Search

Sep. 14, 2009 | by Tobit Michael

Nick Fox of Google, recently spoke at SES about the future of paid search . One of the most interesting points he raised was the possibility of keyword free advertising. The idea behind this being that small businesses allow Google to manage their campaigns without having to submit tens of thousands of keywords.

It would be a bold move from google as the key to its advertising success has always been accountability. By taking away keyword management, it moves the model away from search marketing and into the realms of either a media buy or affiliation, with ads inevitably being less targeted.

My problem with this approach lies in how small advertisers can compete in competitive markets. Without bid optimisation, keyword management, landing page testing and selection, and all the other keyword dependent improvements, advertisers are left with 2 fundamental variables; total budget and creative writing. These boil down to relevancy and spend. If they went for the relevancy factor, presumably based on the site content as well as the ad itself, it becomes a case of sponsored SEO. This would put the emphasis back on website owner to learn an even more complicated skill set, contrary to the stated aim of making life easier. The other aspect of increasing focus on total spend is not only a step backwards for google but puts it much more in line with traditional media buys. This puts small business back into a situation where they simply can’t compete with the big boys.

The type of advertiser who would likely go for this system is probably the type who would benefit the least, namely businesses with small budgets and simple sites. For this demographic highly efficient campaigns with close control are essential. If a company only has a handful of products or services this type of unlimited broad match could be disastrous and attract masses of unwanted, unrelated, non-converting traffic.

Given the type of results you currently see from poorly managed broad match campaigns and indeed in the suggested terms from the keyword tool, would you trust the algorithm to take the reins? Personally not yet.

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    Comments (2)

    • Ali

      This is a good strategy for small clients who can't afford to pay agency management fee's to get their brand in search. Ofcourse every expert in the field believes its a mistake, and it only helps to sell agencies even more once google fails to efficiently optimise campaigns. Unless Google offers CPA terms, such actions are only doomed to fail.Sep 21, 2009 11:46 pm

    • Martin Assmann (martinassmann) 's status on Tuesday, 15-Sep-09 12:05:43 UTC -

      [...] a few seconds ago from api [...]Sep 15, 2009 01:06 pm


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