AdWords Update: “Related to” Ads and “Also Try” Links

Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, News, SEM

Earlier this week, I reported on a new feature in Google AdWords.  Alex Campbell was the first to spot the “Related to” advertisements on a search for [facial at home]: We contacted our Google representative to get some more specifics on this latest addition to the sponsored results.  Here is their official response to our questions: Google:  “We’re always experimenting with new features and tools to help users find information online. We’ve recently enabled a feature on English language versions of the Google search results page in which additional advertisements for related queries or refinements of the user’s original query may appear. This feature provides users with a diverse set of relevant ads, and offers advertisers with relevant broad match keywords another opportunity to reach their target audience.” TSA:  I am seeing "Related to" headers on the right hand side sponsored links, what are these? These headers are related commercial refinements and are part of an experiment we are conducting on Google.com.  They are based on common user refinements for queries taking both search and ads signals into account.   We are experimenting with serving ads that are most relevant to those refinements. How are ads served under these headers? Ads that appear under these refinement headers are targeted based on relevant broad match keywords in an advertiser's account. Am I being charged for clicks under these headers? Yes, you will be charged according to the standard CPC auction model if a user clicks on one of your ads. How can I make my ads eligible to appear under these headers? All ads for broad matched keywords are eligible to appear under these search refinements. I want to extend our thanks to Google for helping us to keep up with their ever-changing search results page, and for allowing us to share this information with our readers.  Interestingly, this doesn’t appear to be the end of the story.  I ran a couple of searches this morning, and found some additional examples of these “related to” advertisements, along with yet another new feature: Based on my search for [padres], Google is using the “related to” feature to serve additional ads based on relevant queries – [padres tickets], [Petco Park].  Now they are also including links to related queries under the heading “Also try.”  Here is another example in which Google serves me the “Also try” links, this time without any advertisements: In May, Google made a number of changes to its standard results page, including the addition of related queries on the left-hand column under the heading “Something different” and at the bottom of the page under “Searches related to [keyword]”: So adding links to relevant queries is not new.  But as far as I can tell, the “Also try” feature is the first time Google has used the right-hand column – the part of the page which had always been reserved exclusively for advertisements – to serve me additional, relevant queries. When it comes to search, the only thing you can count on is that nothing will stay the same.  What are your thoughts on these latest additions to the Google results page?

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4 Responses to “AdWords Update: “Related to” Ads and “Also Try” Links”

  1. Mike Solomon says:

    What I always thought was so valuable about search engines is they based results on a keyword; the stated intent of the user. What boggles my mind is why Google is “interpreting” the stated intent and providing similar searches or suggestions on what else to try? Maybe they have found that many searches results in users searching again or ending their search altogether. Their motivation to introduce all kinds of alternative paths away from the stated intent seems unclear.

    What I find just as interesting is how Google is starting to use the real estate of the search engine results page (SERP). By taking up space on the left hand nav above the fold and in the paid results right rail, they are dramatically re-shaping the user experience in ways that I don’t think they even understand. I will be keenly watching what happens as more of these features continue to mash up the SERP; the impact on SEO and SEM click through rate could be dramatic and open up both opportunities and challenges for advertisers.

    • Alec Green says:

      Great points Mike. It does seem like Google is introducing a wide variety of paths for users, not all of which are in the advertisers’ best interest. I know it’s only a test, but I can’t figure out why they would add links to “also try” queries directly below the sponsored listings. Just seems like it gives the user another reason not to click on a paid advertisement. And if an advertiser is bidding on their own brand terms, I’m sure they would not want to see any of their competitors listed in the “also try” category right below their own ad.

  2. As Yoda said, ““Do or do not… there is no try.” — Google, please take note.

  3. Kamilah says:

    I think both “Something different” and “Also try” are great features on Google. The internet needs more serendipity, not less. These things are helpful when you’re not exactly sure what search term you’re looking for, or when you need something related but different. I also like the “Similar images” feature in Google image search. All of these things are extremely useful to me. I have more than enough stuff online that takes me to exactly what I’m looking for.

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