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?