If you search using your favourite search engine today you will likely notice a big difference compared to the same search on Google last week. Google has now removed sidebar ads and added a fourth paid ad above the organic listings. In addition, up to three ads will show below the organic listings. Shopping ads will remain unaffected (for now). Although we have seen some tests with shopping ads on the entire right side.
Whenever there is a major change announced by Google we have a lot of questions and concerns so we wanted to highlight some key points in reference to the change and how it can present more of an opportunity than a threat to advertisers:
The main reason being that these ads are more eye-catching than sidebar ads. We believe that the new fourth ad spot, plus new bottom spots, will more than make up for the loss of clicks on side ads. Quality score is more and more important as advertiser compete to get into the top spots. Many advertisers are concerned about CPC increases. However, side ads were a small % of total desktop clicks and the change is for desktop only, which accounts for less than half of all searches which makes the total % even smaller.
Advertisers need to ensure they use the techniques below to stand out:
Here is an example of 2 adverts using ad extensions to stand out against the others
Ultimately changes like this have to be beneficial to the search experience, otherwise Google ends up chasing short-term revenue instead of long-term market share. Remember they test across the Globe before any roll out. This change will make desktop results more in line with mobile results and give a fluid search experience.
As readers of our blogs will know, mobile devices are now the main source of Google search traffic.
The additional PPC spot is supposed to be for premium terms (for now). In searches for such premium terms organic search would be 5th on the list so even advertisers that manage to take the top organic spot will have 4 paid search advertisers above them and above the fold. There is a concern that poor adverts could turn the user off and all advertisers need to grab the opportunity available to them but the various extensions Google give you mean you should be able to grab a users attention.
Advertisers that have a well-executed campaign, engaging / relevant adverts that utilise site links should benefit from this and see more relevant traffic driven to their sites.
Make sure you are in position 1-3 for your money keywords. Use automations to keep you there. Check your auction insights reports to see where you are in relation to your competitors over a week or so. Compare your CTR on desktop each week from before the change and after and see how it changes so you can adapt as needed.