Google Looking At Multiple Previous Queries To Tailor Search Ads

Saul Hansell from the New York Times reported on an interesting discovery that uncovered that Google may look at more than just your previous query to tailor the ads you see on the search page. Now, Google may look back several past queries to tailor your search ads. Yes, this is a major difference – let me explain how.

Obtaining the previous query of a searcher is technically different than obtaining a query conducted five searches ago. Pulling the latest query does not require cookies to be assigned and tracked for that search. But to track a query from five searches ago, you will need to assign a cookie to that searcher and track his queries. Then Google can use that ‘cookied’ data to tailor the ads from a query done several searches ago.

Saul got in touch with Nick Fox of Google, who confirmed Google is using more than just the last query to tailor the ads. Saul quoted Nick saying:

We are trying to understand what the user is trying to do right now. In some cases, those queries are ambiguous, so you need a little more context.

It is probably not just the previous query that matters. You want to know if the user is still doing the same thing. You wouldn’t want to go back a month. You wouldn’t want to go back a day. But you may want to go back two or three queries.

Nick Fox admits to looking back at several previous queries to tailor the search ads. However, he does not admit to tailoring the search ads based on a search you did two weeks ago or even two days ago.

Saul Hansell did not get Google to admit that these search ads are cookie data driven, but it seems to me and many experts that they are likely cookie driven.

For our past coverage of this topic see:

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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