Google has changed the way it is displaying Adwords

Are Google really changing the way ads are presented? No longer will ads appear in the right sidebar of your search page results. Ads will now only be presented above the organic listings and as set of ads at the bottom of the page.

The question is, what does this mean for retailers, impressions, CPC, CTR’s and average position? This blog will help you understand what these changes mean and how they could affect your ads and spend. Since 2010 Google has been talking about changing the way ads are presented in the search results. Since then, Google has been tweaking this idea and slowly introducing changes which have been tested as the years have gone by.

Google first experimented with 4 ads appearing above organic listings in 2010 with mortgage queries than late last year many Google users started to see 4 ads appearing above organic listings and no ads in their right side bar.These changes are now fully in place. 

What differences are you likely to see?

• Text ads will no longer appear on the right hand side of search engine result pages.
• Only 4 ads will now be displayed above the organic listings.
• 3 ads will be shown at the bottom of the SERP’s (search engine results page).
• The total number of text ads that will appear in the SERP’s is going to fall from 11 to a maximum of 7.
• Product listing ad blocks and knowledge panels will show in the right rail on relevant queries.

The updates that are listed above have been made permanently as of February 19th 2016 worldwide by Google on both Google.com and search partners.

What is this going to mean for consumers and retailers?

We expect this change will lead to big changes in performance for retailers. These changes could affect the amount of clicks that your ads receive the position of your ads and potentially the average CPC.

One change that we expect to see is that those with a lower average CPC are likely to receive fewer ad impressions on the first page of results; now that the ads have stopped showing completely on the right hand side of the search engine results page. If ad impressions decline, we can expect average positions to decline as ads start to fall of the first page of results.

Retailers who use have been using Google Adwords for some time will now have to adapt the way they bid and create their ads. This could mean changing the ads that they currently have, the amount they are willing to pay for each click an ad receives or the amount of ads they have running at a certain time.

It is expected that there will be an increase in CPC because of a reduction in the amount of ads that will feature, this means both quality score and CTR are more significant than ever in aiding you to compete for the top spot at an affordable price tag.

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Image source: Search Engine Land 

From the graph above you can see that ads below and above the organic listings are seeing an increase in traffic due to the fact that ads on the right hand side are no longer available.

If you are in the top 4 spots you will see the benefits of the additional 4th ad and improved CTR. However if you’re not bidding high enough, you are likely to see your ads disappear and average CTR drop dramatically.

Additional changes to text ads on mobile

As well as the changes to desktop search results, Google has also changed the way they will be displaying ads on mobile devices. You will now see three ads displayed above organic listings taking the prime top spots on a mobile.

This change to mobile listings could potentially be of great benefit to retailers as it means they have a greater chance of consumers clicking on their ad; should they be bidding for the top spot. Mobile ads will take up the majority of the screen above the ‘fold’ which makes getting an ad in one of those top 3 spots even more beneficial.

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Image source: Search Engine Land 

How will Google shopping campaigns be affected

If your business runs a Google shopping campaign now is the time to press it hard as the whole right-hand side of the results page will now be dedicated to Google shopping. There are two ways Google will now display shopping campaigns:

If a consumer is searching for a specific product such as an Xbox One then a shopping box will appear on the right with a single product image and name. The prices and retailers selling this product will appear in a list below. Related products are then shown in a row below the product info.

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If a consumer is searching for a general item that isn’t specific like black shoes, the standard Google Shopping box will appear. To appear in the first 8 results you’ll need to ensure that your product names contain an exact match to the user query and that you are bidding competitively. For now we expect Google to stick with this format; however we have seen cases where shopping results are still appearing at the top of the search results above text ads.

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Featured image source: Pretty Dam Click

Catherine Durham

Catherine Durham

Digital Marketing Manager (Dip DigM)

Digital Marketing Manager at Netmatter, Catherine Durham graduated in Press & Editorial Photography. She has since gone on to work in digital marketing and ecommerce, with experience in SEO, copywriting, design and photography.

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