So a little over a week ago the world stopped turning for a few minutes and Twitter almost literally blew up with the hastag “Google Instant”. As most everyone has probably heard by now, Google fully released its new feature titled Google Instant which basically updates search results automatically, both paid and organic, as a user types their search query. Some of you that have been living under a rock for the past week are probably thinking to yourselves “so my computer wasn’t totally wigging out and flashing constantly”. No folks that was just Google being Google and totally messing up everybody’s internet searching status quo.

Anyhow, Google Instant presents a ton of questions about the impact this new feature will have on PPC and SEO. Although I cannot speak on the true impact Google Instant will have on SEO, there will be some effect on PPC. To what degree I cannot say for sure, but I’m going to offer my insight and opinions on how Google Instant may impact PPC in a blog post next week. I know, I know; everyone that can even spell Google has already offered their own insight into how Google Instant is going to affect various aspects of the internet marketing industry. I’ve read most of those other views, but hopefully you’ll find something completely new in this upcoming post.

In any case, I’d like to share a portion of an email I received from DragonSearch’s Google Agency Team the day after Google Instant hit the world. The following italicized FAQs will hopefully answer some of the lingering questions you may have in regards to Google Instant and how it may affect Google AdWords performance from their point of view. If you still have unanswered questions after reading these FAQs, check out the blog next week as I plan on elaborating on some of these and going beyond them.

What’s Changing:

Q: How are impressions counted?

A: In most cases, an AdWords ad impression is counted when an ad is displayed on Google or the Google Network.  However, when someone searches on Google using our Google Instant feature, ad impressions are measured differently. When someone is using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:

  1. 1. An explicit commitment to the query (hit enter, click search button, or choose the query from autocomplete)
  2. 2. A click on the page (ad, result, spell correction, related search, etc)
  3. 3. Long pause while viewing the page (currently defined as 3 seconds)

What’s Not Changing:

Q: How will this change how ads are served?

A: This will not change the way ads are served.  We will serve the same ads on the predicted full query as if the user typed the entire query. The predicted query is displayed in the search box as if the user typed the entire query.

Q: How would match types work now?

A: Google Instant is a user interface innovation.  It simply pre-populates search results based on our best prediction of what the user is looking for.  Therefore, match types will not be affected.

Q: Will this impact my ad rank?

A: No. This will not impact your ad rank.

Q: How will it impact my quality score?

A: This does not change the way we determine the relevance or quality of your ads. As always, we look at yours ad’s performance relative to that of other ads’ for the same query, position, and UI treatment (including whether or not an ad was served using the new Google Instant interface).

Q: How are negative keywords used in Google Instant?

A: Negatives are used in the same way they are with the previous interface.  We run the ad auction on the predicted query and negatives are taken into account when we run that auction.

Q: Can I have my ad show up on what the user types versus the predictive query? For example, if I sell flowers, can I have my ad show on “flo”?’

A: No.  Ads will only serve against the predicted query. In your example, the predicted query would most likely be “flowers”.  Therefore, it’s best for you to advertise on “flowers”

Too Early To Tell:

Q: How will my impression volume change?

A: We’re not able to determine the degree to which you impressions will change.

Q: What will happen to my CTR?

A: We expect performance metrics to fluctuate as a result of Instant and we encourage you to monitor post-launch metrics and adjust accordingly

Q: If my CTR goes down, then my performance will go down and my ad won’t rank well. How do I fix this?

A: In general, all advertisers will be affected equally by Google Instant. Therefore, we don’t anticipate any changes in relative advertiser performance.

Q: I use CTR to manage my bids.  What should I do if my CTR is behaving unusually?

A: Unless you use impressions and/or CTR to manage your bidding, this will not impact your bid strategy.  If you are using impressions and/or CTR, we recommend that you relax those dependencies temporarily while you and users adjust to this new Google interface.

Q: Will this impact my CPA?

A: Google Instant helps users build queries that return results more closely tailored to their needs. Therefore, the quality of the clicks may improve, which could lead to better conversion rates.

Q: It will be difficult to see benchmarking on campaigns on and other search sites due to different experiences. How do I manage that?

A: Since Google Instant could have an impact on your impressions, your performance on versus other search sites may change. However, we recommend focusing on your overall campaign performance rather than comparing individual metrics such as impressions and CTR.


Q: How do I know if someone is seeing my ad in the new format or the old one?

A: You will not be able to determine whether someone is seeing your ad in the new format or the previous one.

Q: How do the suggestions get updated and can I influence the suggestions?

A: Google Instant utilizes the same technology as Google Suggest. Learn more about how suggestions are updated –

Q: Can advertisers run reports that break down results so we can see the impact Google Instant has on campaigns?

A: No. We will not provide advertisers with reports segmenting Google Instant data.

Q: Are all the estimation tools updated? (traffic estimator, etc)

A: The estimation tools currently do not take Google Instant into account. These tools are generally updates regularly and will reflect any changes from Google Instant as they are normally updated.

Q: How are the Autocompletions ranked?

A: To make the predictions, Google relies on search trends, like words that are often searched, were recently popular or were searched nearby.