Changes To Google’s Ad Layout & What It Means

Last week, Google has begun displaying up to four ads above organic desktop tablet search results, up from the original three ads, and removed the ads on the right-hand side entirely. Three text ads will continue to show at the bottom of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), making the total number of text ads that can appear on each SERP, from 11 listings to a maximum of 7 listings. This is implemented to all searches in all languages worldwide. We weigh in on how these changes will affect your existing and ongoing Adwords campaign and what are some of the key recommendations from the industry.

The Old vs New Look

Google Search on Desktop

Old look of Google Search Ads on desktop view (above) & New look of Goole Search Ads on desktop view (below)

Google Search on Desktop

One significant observation is that Google is making this change in a bid to make desktop search more like your mobile search. The absence of ads on the right hand column is just a way to create a synergistic look. From an industry standpoint, Google is not the only publisher that is experimenting with the number of ads and placements within the consumer experience. Facebook, for example, has also adapted its desktop advertising, reducing the number of Newsfeed ads to improve relevance and quality and redesigning its ads on the right-hand column.

What this change means for your PPC campaigns?

While many have speculated that the reduction in advertising spots from 11 to 7 would mean an increase in adword bidding cost and overall SEM cost due to supply and demand, but we feel that it is still too early to tell.
On the other hand, advertisers who have been traditionally bidding for top spot on the old right-hand side will see an instant boost in their text ad by appearing on the 4th spot at the top of the SERP with a boost in impression and ad click. Based on statistics, the top search text ad account for over 85.4% of paid clicks compared to only 14.6% combined for Side plus Bottom Text Ad.

Paid clicks by Position on the SERP

In addition, based on impressions by Text Ad spots, the most common position is position 2, but the average position is 3.5. Reduction in total ad spots means your below-the-fold ads are less likely to drag your mean average down, and your average position will better reflect your true positions.

impressions per position of Google ads
Another noteworthy incremental benefits for SEM advertisers is that now all ads can use call-out extensions, site-link extensions, location extensions and so on, which were previously only a benefit of top-of-page ads.
In addition, since the implementation of the change, data showed that position 3 had the biggest boost with click-through rates increasing by 15 percent.

The surprise winner of the SERP changeWhile this is a big change, it shouldn’t cause you to panic. As always, we are constantly reviewing the changes, monitoring all our advertisers campaign and making changes to adjust the accounts as needed.
Whether you are an existing client that wants to understand how your campaign is faring or a new client looking to find out how you can take advantage of this change to make your search campaign more effective, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.

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