What Does No Ads on Right Hand Side Mean

By Ricky Solanki, February 24th 2016 in Ad copy

So Google has removed Ads on right hand side, is this an opportunity or a threat?

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.

What does the new change look like

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 21.20.23

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:

1)Ads above the organic listing always had more value than the sidebar

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.

2)Design of your Ad is more important than ever

Advertisers need to ensure they use the techniques below to stand out:

  • Utilize all ad extensions, location, call out etc., occupying additional search space
  • Make use of extended headlines where description line 1 is formatted with the same emphasis as the headline
  • Show the Display URL in the headline
  • Have description lines 1 and 2 show as a complete sentence

Here is an example of 2 adverts using ad extensions to stand out against the others

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 21.24.15

3) Provides a more modern search experience which reflects mobile, desktop and tablet results.

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.

4) SEO could suffer

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.

Final thoughts

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.

Ricky Solanki

Growth Director - Push

Ricky Solanki has worked on over 500+ adwords campaigns. He started working in paid search all the way back in in 2004 and has used that knowledge to build the Push Analyser. Push Analyser is a unique software tool used by his agency Push to deliver exceptional results for small to medium size businesses across the Globe.

More blog posts by Ricky Solanki



» 3 Weeks After Google Wipe Out Right Hand Ads – The Results Are In
March 22nd 2016

[…] So, I’m sure you’ve all by now heard and seen that Google removed the right hand side ads and of course read our article about it (If you haven’t shame on you and read it here.). […]



Ricky Solanki
February 29th 2016

At the moment it seems like nothing will appear there but maybe there will be different ad units like more shopping ads or other new tests, I am sure Google are working on. Google are committed to making Adwords work for small businesses so their tests pre roll out will hopefully allow advertisers to benefit from the change rather than penalise them.



February 29th 2016

More in Google's pocket! Will this trigger higher bids for Ads' position? What will be in the right column instead?



Sean BP
February 25th 2016

Interesting article ! I wonder if it ties in with the changes I've heard are coming through in Google Shopping, where they are apparently adding a "buy" button to enable them to go head-to-head with Amazon in the e-commerce sphere. In the process, I can see them fairly rapidly making the actual merchant invisible, by dropping links that take buyers off Google and onto e-commerce websites. This, of course, will work well for Google by forcing an "arms race" as people bid higher and higher to get seen in Shopping. But it could make life very hard for niche websites which rely on bringing people to the site to sell mixed baskets of products rather than single items. Perhaps Bing or Facebook advertising will fill the gap as e-commerce businesses have to find new ways to get buyers to the website rather than an end marketplace. By hurting small businesses in this way, Google have certainly come a long way from "Don't be evil" !



February 25th 2016

Good article - surprising change. Lets see what happens. I'm sure google would have done the maths to see how this effects them before rolling it out too.