On January 10, 2012, Google began to roll out its new “Search plus Your World,* which subdivides your search results into personalized results and non-personalized results.

The personalized results side now shows a ramped-up “social search,” pulling in more material relevant to you as based on your social relationships (as defined by your Google+ profile). The non-personalized results are more like “Google pure,” although some social material, such as public Google+ posts, will still be pulled in.

Two Sets of Search Results: What About the AdWords Ads?

So now for any given search query, there are not only two sets of search results (with a toggle button to switch between them), but two different sets of ads.

Look at this actual search. I searched for “wood stingray violin” (a really cool electric violin, by the way!). Here’s what I got on the “personal” side of the new search results:

Ad rankings with "personal" turned on

Notice that the ad for electricviolinshop.com is in the #1 position.

Now I immediately toggled over to the “non-personalized” results for the same query.

Ad ranking with personalization turned off

The ad for electricviolinshop.com is in the #2 position. It’s important to emphasize again what’s happening here: for the same search query, executed only once, ads for the same advertiser display in two different rank positions. I can’t think of any other way to look at this besides from now on, there are two ranking “auctions” executed for every one search query.

Here are the questions we’ll want answered:

  1. How does this affect stats? What about things like impressions? If the searcher toggles between the two views, does each generate an impression? And what about average ad position? How is that calculated now if ads can show in different positions for the same query action?
  2. How will we manage for this change? Is the AdWords management interface going to change to reflect the new search? Will there be segments available to see stats for personalized vs. non-personalized? Will we be able to bid separately on them?

I’ve put these questions to AdWords Product Manager +Jon Diorio on Google+. I’ll let you know if he gets back to me with anything.