Can Google Fix The User Intent Issue?

One of the most vexing issues in pay per click marketing is the problem of user intent. Sure, you can pick a lot of great keywords, but what happens when someone types in an ambiguous search term, or one that has multiple meanings depending on the context? For example, someone who types “medical coding” into their search box could be looking for a medical coding job, a book on medical coding, or a medical coding training program. Under current search engine restrictions, it’s impossible for marketers to figure out exactly what each searcher is looking for without poring through volumes of analytical data.

This week, Google announced a new feature that just might have a shot at figuring out the user intent problem. It’s called AdWords Comparison Ads, and it’s currently only rolled out to a few select advertisers in the mortgage industry. Here’s how it works: someone types in a pretty generic term like “mortgage.” When AdWords ads are served up for the search query, Google shows some radio buttons next to the ads (in the example they provide, it’s a choice between “buy a home” and “refinance”). This allows users to clarify exactly what they want. If the user selects an option, they are taken to a new page that allows them to compare mortgage rates according to their selection.

It’s a pretty neat idea, and I’m interested to see how it turns out. I’m a bit wary of the fact that it relies on voluntary data, adding more work to a search query on the user side. I guess I’m just cynical enough to think that people will be too lazy to click an extra button on a Google search. If Google sees some success with this pilot program, they plan on rolling it out to other industries. Now that’s where it would really get interesting…

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
This entry was posted in Google AdWords, Text Ads. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.