Google is switching it up again and changing how they display paid ads on desktop searches. Starting February 19, Google will no longer serve ads on the right-hand side of its desktop search results with some exceptions. In addition to that change, Google may display four, instead of three ads, in the top of page positions above the organic search results for highly commercial-like searches like insurance, law firms, and air conditioning repair and installation. The two exceptions that may still be shown on the right-hand side are Product Listing Ads boxes and ads that serve user queries within the Knowledge Panel.
So what does this mean for your digital marketing campaign? Competition for those highly-coveted top three-four paid listings can drive up the cost-per-click because of increased competition, which means you could be spending more money for those high-value leads. Additionally, adding more paid search listings above organic listings means that businesses and marketers need to continue to work hard to produce quality content to make organic listings strong and relevant to the search queries at hand.
This change strongly resembles the already competitive nature of mobile ads using the Google Adwords Search Network platform. Within mobile results, there are only two ad placements, meaning the bidding strategy requires an increased bid adjustment specifically for mobile devices in order to remain competitive on mobile devices, which is where almost 40 percent of mobile searches are now being conducted.
It will be interesting how this plays out. Google doesn’t make big changes like this without cause, and in the long run, it just might result in higher click-through rates for both paid and organic listings. Much speculation has been surrounding this specific change, but it’s been rumored that Google is making this change due to the poor click-through-rate among ads that show up in the right-hand side across several verticals, and the expected cost-per-click inflation from this change is projected to be more profitable overall.
If you’re running Google Adwords ads, and you’re not sure as to how this could affect your current campaign, please contact the digital marketing experts at On Target Digital Marketing. Our Google-Certified advertising specialists can provide consulting and optimization services to help make your campaign more profitable.