Google Testing Segmenting PPC Markets: Session Based Broad Match

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?

Posted in PPC

About the Author: 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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