Google's New Ad Structure... Will You Pay More?

March 1, 2016

A major shift in the way Google displays its advertising took place this past week. Google began phasing out the right hand or sidebar ads and instead are now featuring 1-4 ads at the top of the page, placing three more at the bottom of the results page.


Google has confirmed that the change is now rolling out to all searches, in all languages, worldwide. Ads will not appear on the right side of desktop search results, with two exceptions:

  1. Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes, which show either above or to the right of search results. (see image below)

  2. Ads in the Knowledge Panel.


What Exactly is Changing?

  1. No text ads will be served on the right side of the search results on desktop.

  2. Four text ads will now be shown instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more “highly commercial queries”.

  3. Three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs.

  4. The total number of text ads that can appear on a results page will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

  5. Product listing ad blocks and Knowledge Panels will show in the right rail on relevant queries.

While it’s too soon to tell the specific cost implications of this change on cost-per-click (CPC) prices, it can be expected that fewer ads will lead to higher prices due to supply and demand, which we have already started to see with some of our clients.

In addition to the changes in search result ads, organic results have been moved even farther down the page. In fact, the first organic listing might not even appear above the fold (before you have to scroll down) depending on the term searched and size of your computer screen. It’s too early to say what effect this will have on organic traffic, but we will be monitoring our sites for drops in traffic based on the less prominent placement of the organic search results.

Have questions about this new Google update? Contact Sales & Marketing Technologies today to see how this could affect your marketing strategy.

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