Get the best news in paid search marketing - published every week together with Search Engine Land.
How advertisers should respond to fewer ads showing on Google
Google recently changed the way ads are displayed on search engine results pages, so how can you make the most of this change? Columnist Frederick Vallaeys lays out some options.
After a quiet start to the year with few notable changes in AdWords, the last month has seen a lot of interesting things happening, most notably the change to the layout of ads on the search results pages.
I’ve shared my initial thoughts about this change on my company blog; but now that it’s been live for a few weeks, I wanted to weigh in with ways to optimize accounts that are impacted, including using bid to position rules and Quality Score optimization.
What changed to ads on Google
The week of February 19, Google began removing right-hand side (RHS) ads, reserving that space instead for product listing ads (PLAs) and the Knowledge Panel. This change reduced the maximum number of text ads on the page from 11 to seven.
A change as significant as this one caused some angst amongst advertisers, but the impact seems neutral to positive, according to several pieces of research: iProspect noted that RHS ads had a terrible click-through rate (CTR) anyway; Merkle|RKG analyzed the stats two weeks after the change and found no major impact to the big picture; and others reacted similarly. Google’s own Matt Lawson even said that “[i]n aggregate, this change is neutral for small advertisers.”
I’ve run a few estimates of my own (which I’ll share below) to gauge the impact of the change, and I also think this is a net positive change because it opens up a very large number of new clicks to advertisers.
Regardless of all the studies concluding that the aggregate or average change will be neutral or positive, remember that individual results may vary. None of us are averages. We’re all individuals, so we need to pay close attention to how we’re individually impacted by the change.
This being election season, let me put it like this: If one of the presidential candidates proposed changes to taxation that would reduce taxes, I wouldn’t vote for that candidate without first checking that my individual taxes would also go down — the aggregate of all taxes has no impact on my own bank balance.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.