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Google Tests “Related To” Sponsored Links in AdWords

Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, News, SEM

UPDATE:  Google provided The Search Agency with an official explanation of this new feature.

Notice anything different about your Google search results?  Alex Campbell, a Creative Editor in our UK office, was the first to spot a new set of advertisements in the sponsored links.

He found these “related” results while conducting a search for [facial at home].  Although the question of why he was researching new ways to privately pamper himself is intriguing one– he swears it was part of keyword research for a client – the results of his search were of far more interest to search marketers:

Google has supplemented the single exact-match advertisement with ads that are somehow associated with the user’s query.  According to Alex, these additional results may be done on a ‘related query’ basis, but could also be based on his recent search activity, which included a few queries related to beauty salons.  Interestingly though, ‘pedicure at home’, ‘pedicure’, ‘facial mask’ etc. had not been among those queries.

I decided to conduct my own test.  First, to see if these ‘related to’ results were only showing up in the UK.  Second, to see if they were only being served to people who express a keen interest in personal health and beauty.

My search for [Dodgers] yielded some interesting results:

The keyword [Dodgers] is admittedly vague.  I really like how Google includes a box score for the game in progress as the first listing in the natural results.  For the sponsored links, Google has served some related ads based on more specific versions of my query – [dodgers tickets], [dodgers schedule].  As a user, I find these ads to be far more relevant than the ad for Jamie McCourt and her latest business venture.   Side note – Jamie McCourt is the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt, currently embroiled in a bitter divorce and battle for control of the team.  Looks like the Dodgers’ marketing department could use some help with SEM.

We contacted our Google representatives and hope to get more information on these new features in the coming days.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Google’s latest innovation?    Have you come across any strange examples of these “related to” advertisements?  Do you believe these additional exposures will end up being a positive or negative for your campaigns?

About Alec Green

Alec serves as Mother Hen of The Search Agents, making sure contributors mind their P's and Q's and never write the seven words you can't say on television. He's been called a "social media hater" who longs for the days of door-to-door selling and advertising in the phone book.

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8 Responses to “Google Tests “Related To” Sponsored Links in AdWords”

  1. Black Hat says:

    Nice post and we can understand that on generic terms ‘related to’ ad’s can add relevancy to a users search.

    However, have you seen the ‘related to’ ad’s appearing on brand terms? Interesting when you search for ‘Thomas Cook Flights’ and see Easyjet and Monarch appearing on a branded term. Surely Thomas Cook and other brands won’t appreciate Google advertising their competitors on their branded terms.

    Just hope we dont see this on Louis Vuitton terms!

    • Alec Green says:

      Thanks Black Hat. I have definitely seen the ‘related to’ ads more on general terms than on brand terms. But your example is a good one. I’m sure you’d see brand advertisers get really up in arms if Google started serving up more of their competitors by name, either in the ‘related to’ ads or in the new ‘also try’ links.
      You can get the “official” word from Google, along with more specifics on the ‘also try’ links in my post from earlier today.

  2. Martin Ward says:

    I run a marketing agency as an ad on to my business and have been pulling my hair out all weeks because a few of my campaigns have massivley suffered as a direct result of this new change, where we were once showing in number 1 position we are now not even listed even though we have always been number 1 on the sponsored results listing.

    Any help on how Google calculates the relevancy of these ads would be appreciated as at the moment it’s a mystery and to be honest a complete pain.


    • Alec Green says:

      Thanks for the comment Martin. For now, all we know is that the “related to” sponsored links are an experiment being run on a limited number of searches exclusively on Google.com. You can read the entire explanation from Google on my updated post in which we also discuss the new “also try” query links.

      I would definitely share your concerns and specific examples with your Google account manager. I’m sure they would like to gather as much feedback as possible in order to evaluate the effectiveness of this new feature.

  3. Mazie Groh says:

    This is one of the intereting post in this topic, thanks you very much for your post! please keep the great post going! I willbe back for more!


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