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Old 02-09-2010   #1
Jerry Nordstrom
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Broad Match - Session Based

A few months back Google started using session based ad display.

What is Broad Match Session based impressions and clicks?

Google's answer:
When determining which ads to show on a Google search result page, the AdWords system evaluates some of the user's previous queries during their search session as well as the current search query. If the system detects a relationship, it will show ads related to these other queries, too.

I. What's the benefit of evaluating queries that happened earlier in a user's search session?

The system considers the previous queries in order to better understand the intent of the user's current query. The added information allows the system to deliver more relevant ads.

II. How does this feature work?

This feature is an enhancement of broad match. It works by generating similar terms for each search query based on the content of the current query and, if deemed relevant, the previous queries in a user's search session. Your ad will potentially show if one of your broad-matched keywords matches any of these similar terms.

III. Will it impact my Quality Score?

No. Whenever an ad is served based on the associated keyword's relevance to the previous search queries, the ad's performance has no effect on that keyword's Quality Score.

IV. Does this feature affect the ad preview page?

No. When searching for your own ads on Google, we recommend using the ad preview page. This page is intended for advertisers troubleshooting their ads. The system, therefore, doesn't consider your previous queries when delivering ads on this page.
So I understand the intent of this feature. Basically, Google is going to make some judgments about user intent and display ads accordingly. This will hopefully lead the visitor further down the sales funnel. This all makes good sense, however I have many concerns for one main reason. I have no data to analyze this type of activity in my campaigns.

One general rule of thumb I have is, if I can't report on it, I can't control it, and thus should not use it.

Search Engine Journal brings up other good points here:

Essentially this all comes down to the age old issue of figuring out the effects of keyword attribution. Which keywords resulted in impressions and clicks at one point in time, and turned into conversions at another point in time?

There is no report in G Analytics to track this activity.
And thinking about it, would it not be amazing to see a keyword progression that lead to a conversion? We may find out that keyword "homer Simpson" exact match contributes to a lot of conversions with the keyword "Donuts", but never results in a conversion itself. Many of us may delete or pause that keyword and suffer a drop in conversions.

Bottom line to me. If Google feels confident that they can determine user intent and serve up our ads to "related" keywords during the searchers user session, they need to share that data with us. Tell us what those keywords are and allow us to create keyword funnel reports similar to the funnel visualization reports found in GA.

Imagine if at one point you could categorize all your keywords into parts of the sales funnel with confidence. And instead of Google determining which ad shows for these sets of keywords in a user session, you did.

First things first though. Google lets see some data behind they Session based ad display.
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