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Within the past few months, you’ve most likely noticed a pretty major change in Google’s desktop search results page.  So what exactly changed, and now that a few months have passed…

How is it affecting AdWords performance?

Ads no longer appear on the right hand side of the page.

Google is serving three to four ads at the top of the page above organic listings rather than three, and only three ads at the bottom of the page below organic listings. (Highly commercial inquiries like “hotels in tampa” or “health insurance” may show four listings rather than three at the top of the page)

The total number of ads on the first page has been reduced from approximately 11 to only a maximum of seven.

Product Listing Ads (aka Shopping Ads) now show on the right rail. (Right hand side of the page)

What was the reason for the change?

Google, along with Bing and Yahoo have all noticed that the trends towards users using mobile devices has increased since the inception of smart phones and on mobile devices, there were no right hand ads.  In addition, Google also rolled out Expanded Text Ads, which allow the advertiser essentially two headlines rather than just one and a whopping 80 characters for their description.  All of these updates are intended to improve the user experience and would benefit users who search across devices.

How have these changes affected advertisers?

For the most part, the changes have had minimal effect for small advertisers, but for larger advertisers we have noted that competition has increased for those top positions.

In addition, we have noted that where the change has pushed down the organic results below the fold of the page, PPC has become an even more important component to overall digital marketing strategy and in keeping ads showing at the top of the page for top keywords.

Shopping campaigns continue to perform well, as their location at the top right of the page has historically always performed well, and those ads have stayed put.

And switching over from Standard Text ads to Expanded Text ads has kept our advertisers competitive, while the addition of all Ad Extensions that make sense has increased their real estate on the page.

What can you do to remain competitive?

With iDigital Marketing you can rest assured that we are always on top of this rapidly changing landscape and work diligently to keep our PPC advertiser campaigns in peak performance – regardless of what new changes Google may throw at us.

If you’re confused by the recent changes, or concerned that your account may need adjustments to remain competitive, we highly recommend an Audit of your Google AdWords account where we can determine where you might be missing opportunities for peak performance.

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