Google’s “People also search for” suggestions now appearing on paid search results

Google's "People also search for" suggestions have now been rolled out to desktop paid search results. Previously, the feature was only available for organic search results and, in late 2017, it started showing for mobile ad results.

The purpose of proposing suggestions is to deliver an improved and more accurate search experience when using Google, but these also affect paid search advertisers.

How it works

The suggestion box displays when a user clicks on an ad and then goes back to the search results, without taking into account how many pages they visited. Google then provides suggestions based on similar searches, to save users from scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Potential concerns for advertisers

The first main concern for advertisers is that competitor brand terms can appear within suggestions, which is most likely if the search query is non-branded and competition is very high for the used keywords, such as in the example below:

The risk isn't as high for branded search queries, as most of Google's suggestions will still contain the brand name. However, suggestions could have a detrimental impact on generic campaigns' performance and increase competition between advertisers even more, forcing brands to bid on competitors' brand names to appear at the top of the page.

This leads me to my second concern, which is that ads will most likely need to appear in first position if they're to be clicked on. This poses an issue, as suggestions not only resemble ad extensions, but could also could steal attention from other ads and deter users from scrolling down the page.

In order to maintain performance levels following the changes to how suggestions display, advertisers should aim to appear at the top of the page, which will save users needing to scroll further down the page to find more relevant results. That being said, if your ad ranks above your competitors, their brand name could still appear in the "people also search for" suggestions.

Undoubtedly, these changes will have an impact on performance, and competition is likely to become more aggressive. However, the true impact of suggestions appearing under paid search results will be more clear in the coming weeks as brands settle in to the recent change.

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