Google has begun testing a new PPC layout for certain search queries. The new layout segments a broad keyword into segmented categories. This is also referred to as session based broad match.

When & Why?

A broad match keyword like sensitive teeth does not provide Google with enough information about what the searchers query is regarding the condition. Therefore Google is attempting to predict the nature of this general query. As we can see below they have created four individual segments for each an expanded version of the query. Logically the four are strongly associated with the general query.

1.       Toothpaste

2.       Toothache

3.       Tooth Pain

4.       Tooth Pressure



What This Means for Searchers

A short tail or broad general word or phrase within applicable search verticals will display associated topics opposed to allowing all advertisers a piece of the pie on this broad term. So a search for winter tires may prompt the following segments:

1.       Winter tire pressure

2.       Winter tire reviews

3.       Winter tire sizes

4.       Winter tire tread depth

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly for Advertisers

The Good

Previously less relevant long term keyword campaigns may become more relevant. Maintaining the number 1 position for lower volume keywords such as sensitive tooth pressure, which shows no search volume, could give you first page exposure for a high volume search query such as sensitive teeth.

The Bad

Marketers will have to pay close attention to the segments Google are using. If the segments are rigid, then marketers will have to adapt and pay closer attention to the long tail. Creating multiple markets around high volume general search queries will make the landscape much more competitive.

The Ugly

Segmenting markets like this has the potential to increase the cost of advertising. For a broad query like sensitive teeth, or winter tires only the first two positions may make page 1 with the right column reserved for session based broad match.


Session based broad match makes for a great user experience and encourages shorter tail search activity. Users may become accustomed to the suggestions and simply shorten their search queries over time allowing Google to give them a segment breakdown to choose from, thus making the landscape much more competitive.

As a user would you like to see more of session based broad match? Fellow marketers, what are your thoughts?

Mick Higgins

A marketing graduate with itchy feet, I moved to Canada from my native Ireland in late 2009. My passions are marketing, media, advertising and sports.

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6 Responses to “Google Testing Segmenting PPC Markets: Session Based Broad Match”

  1. Barry Adams says:

    Ireland, Iiiiiiiireland! Sorry, your Irish rugby shirt distracted me. 😉

  2. Mick Higgins says:

    @Bary Lol have to fly the flag
    .-= Mick Higgins recently posted: Google Testing Segmenting PPC Markets- Session Based Broad Match =-.

  3. Craig says:

    I suppose as a marketer it makes life a little harder, but then thats what seperates the men from the boys so to speak…as a user I think it is great, whatever delivers more relevant search results can only be good.

  4. Would be interesting to know where Google bases the segmenting. LP copy? Keywords? Ad copy?

    Haven't seen this test from my end though.

    Great post by the way Mick!
    .-= Jun Baranggan recently posted: The Paperli Newspaper =-.

  5. Mick Higgins says:

    @Craig Totally agree. This will definitely create some great opportunities for the truly dedicated. marketeres will be foreced to continuously review their campaigns or face declining campaign performance.

    @Jun From what I could figure out the segments for the case I was looking at were varied. For example they could havee used a much more common query like "causes", or a a more lucrative market like "teeth whiteners for sensitive teeth" (local search volume of 1,900). They instead seem to have a mix sales and service segments.

    I would imagine they will continue testing until they find the perfect segment mix, which I'm sure Google hopes can be universally applied to general queries like "sensitive teeth". Segement lineup like this maybe:

    1. Product
    2. Service
    3. Query
    4. Wildcard for testing
    .-= Mick Higgins recently posted: 3 Social Media Apps for Organizing Your Online Life =-.

  6. Yikes, I better re-evaluate my PPC campaigns. What's a good source for keeping up to date on changes like this? Is there a google feed I should subscribe to?
    .-= Jennifer Null recently posted: Microsoft Disputes Apple’s Trademark Registration for “App Store” =-.