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Google cleans up [Christmas]

Yesterday, you (or the kids) may have been in for a surprise if you searched Google for the term [Christmas].

Hide the kids. Here is a look at some of the NSFW Shopping ads that were showing for the query as of last evening.

Cleaned up. Google has since demonetized the page, removing all ads from showing for the exact match query [christmas]. Now the knowledge card that shows the date Christmas occurs this year and the knowledge panel with additional information appear at the top of the page on mobile (see below) and at the top and right of the page on desktop. There are now text or Shopping ads on the page at all — even at the very bottom.

Why we care. This is an example of how Google takes action to control whether ads appear on search results pages for particular types of queries and when it chooses to demonetize a search result for non-commercial queries. It will also do this for trademarked events like the “World Cup” for example.

These advertisers may have been targeting this exact match query, or they may not have even intended to show for the head term [christmas] at all. The ads may have triggered due to broad match or close variants matching. This also a reminder about Ad Rank bid thresholds. Ad Rank determines if an ad will show on a search result and, if so, in what position. In 2017, Google updated Ad Rank thresholds to account for the meaning and category of a query. The Ad Rank thresholds are going to be higher for news-related and non-commercial queries than they are for product-related queries like [christmas gift ideas] or even [christmas countdown].


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