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What is the Google "related ads"?

More search marketers are reporting seeing PPC ad grouping by segments and categories for certain search queries. Google began testing this new layout for general and brand terms in Google AdWords that showed "Related to " last June, and it seems it has rolled out more broadly in the last few days.

At the time, Google said: "We're always experimenting with new features and tools to help users find information online. We're currently testing a feature on English language versions of the Google search results page in which additional advertisements for related queries or refinements of the user's original query may appear. This beta experiment provides users with a diverse set of relevant ads, and offers advertisers with relevant broad match keywords another opportunity to reach their target audience."

Here's what it looks like:

iClick Media - Google AdWords related ad

What's this new layout mean for marketers? Certainly increased competition and higher CPCs are a possibility.

Terence Sim of iClick Media said this may be an attempt by Google to curb the "broad match gone wild" syndrome, while still displaying the same number of ads.

"If I'm bidding on 'periodontics,' I don't want my ads showing for searches for 'root canal' and vice versa,". "However, if I'm bidding on 'root canal,' and a search for 'periodontics' displays my ad under a heading 'Related to root canal,' then maybe that's not so bad for me as an advertiser. Labeling the ads with the phrase, which is likely the keyword the advertiser is bidding on, helps clarify what may otherwise seem like confusing ads to the searcher." - SearchEngineWatch