In February 19, 2016, Google confirmed that it will stop showing AdWords ads on the right hand side of SERPs on desktop. However, four ads instead of three can appear on the top of the SERPs (before organic results) if the query is “highly commercial”. Highly commercial search queries are those that signal an intention to purchase such as “hotels in New York City” or car insurance, according to Google. Meanwhile, the right side bar will be for Product Listing Ads and Knowledge Panels for relevant searches.
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers,” Google mentioned on its statement about the change.
Internet marketing experts and specialists speculated as to why Google rolled out those changes in AdWords. Most assume that it’s because the leading search engine wants to increase their revenue, while others cited reasons such as enhancing user experience from desktop to mobile and a cleaner layout.
Impact on Marketing Campaigns and Businesses
The recent change Google implemented on AdWords have implications on different areas of a marketing campaign.
The most obvious impact would be the probable increase in competitive bidding for keywords and costs per clicks, which ultimately leads to bigger expenses. Because there are fewer slots available, competition for those spots would become more steep, pushing businesses to increase their spending.
Meanwhile, the increase of ad spots from three to four will further push organic results down. As organic spaces becomes more valuable, more focus on SEO becomes imperative.
How to Adapt
While Google’s recent changes can cause a feeling of doom and gloom, there are ways to adapt and maintain your competitive edge.
“Cost. The big impact is it’s going to raise the cost. Better for Google, not for us. So we’re getting better at optimizing, presenting solutions and then using other tools to make the value of the pay per click campaign more effective,” mentions Peter Liefer, CEO of PrimeView. He says that it’s all about making the most of the ads by stepping up your follow-up process once a client reached your landing page.
Other experts suggest going for a lower PPC position and increasing efforts on the more organic side of internet marketing, which ultimately provides a better experience to users. Meanwhile, businesses who don’t want to increase their spending can improve their quality score to keep their bids and cost per clicks leveled.
It May Not be as Bad as It Seems
Wordstream analyzed the click volume that right side and bottom ads receive, and found these ad placements only account for 14.6% of click volume. Since bottom ads are not affected by the change that Google rolled out, less than 14.6% of clicks are will be lost from the change.
“Now, those “lost” impressions and clicks can more than be made up by A) the addition of the new fourth ad spot B) 78% of SERPS have fewer than 4 ads above the organic results – there’s plenty of room for that to go down and C) the addition of up to four ads below the organic search results. It’s like we just re-organized the naming of ad positions,” says Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream.
Making your Business Stand Out
Despite the changes that Google rolls out, your business can still maintain its foothold if it has a strong core. Internet marketing efforts will only be as good as the quality of service, product, or information you provide to users and your target audience. So build your brand, have a strong website, and see to it that all marketing efforts are well integrated. This way, you’re positioning your business as an entity that people think of even before they enter a search query in Google.