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“Broad (Session-Based)” Match Type in AdWords Explained

Since June we’ve noticed a new “Search Query Match Type” on AdWords search query reports: “Broad (Session-Based)”.  What is this newly reported match type and how does it affect advertisers?

Broad (Session-Based) Match Type Explained

If I search for “lowest roofing quote” and then change my train of thought and start searching for information on a completely different topic such as movie reviews, I may see roofing quote ads while searching for movie reviews.

How does that happen?  As long as it’s the same search session, Google will use previous search queries to trigger broad match.  Think of it as an enhancement of broad match. If you set your keyword match type to “broad” in AdWords, Google’s search algorithms may factor in search queries from earlier in a search session to display an ad.

How Often Do Session-Based Broad Matches Occur?

Is this done often?  Our experience is that it happens only sporadically for most accounts at this time, although Google is always updating its algorthims and redefining what a relevant variation of a broad match term is.  It’s certainly not the majority of broad match searches.  It varies by account and by keyword.  If you’re curious to see if it’s affecting your account, run a search query report and check the “Search Query Match Type” column to see if it’s affecting your keywords.

It’s worth noting that Google pays attention to its success when extending your broad match in this and other ways.  If it makes attempts to show your ad using data from previous searches in the session and clicks don’t occur, it naturally curbs this extension of broad.  And that makes sense.  It’s not in your interest or theirs to show your ads where Google users don’t find them relevant.

Will These Searches Affect My Quality Score?

No.  We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth hammering home: It’s exact match CTR that’s the CTR component of Quality Score.  Session based broad match, or any broad match performance doesn’t directly affect Quality Score.

If there’s any doubt, Google now states explicity in AdWords Help that “whenever an ad is served based on the associated keyword’s relevance to the previous search queries, the ad’s performance has no effect on that keyword’s Quality Score.“

By Rob Sieracki

Director of Paid Search


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