Google decreases the number of ads shown in search results


By Hannah Wakeman

Digital General
22 February 2016

Google AdWords changes

In one of the biggest shake-ups that Google have implemented in AdWords in a long time, searches will now only feature three or four paid ads at the top of the page, and none down the right-hand sidebar. The changes were confirmed today after long-running tests by Google.

You may not have noticed the new layout yet – as with all big Google changes there tends to be a slow rollout, with some people seeing the changes later than others. However, many different sources have confirmed that the change is definitely coming.

What should we expect?

AdWords uses an auction system to decide where ads will be shown, with the top spots that everyone wants being the most expensive. It is almost inevitable that having fewer visible ad spaces to compete for will cause some advertisers to place higher bids to nearer the top of search results.

Higher bids across the board will push up the cost-per-click for businesses. It’s very tough to predict exactly how dramatic this change in CPC will be as so many variables affect what each advertiser pays for a click – plus, nobody can predict how individual advertisers in each sector will bid. Overall impressions may also fall because, if your average position is 4.0 or below, you are likely to show in fewer searches.

Silver linings

It’s not necessarily all bad news, as several studies have shown that clicks from the top results outperform those from the sidebar in terms of conversion rates, click-through-rates, and the overall value of the click. So you may have to pay a little more, and you may get a little less traffic, but the clicks that you do get are more likely to be more valuable to your business.
Currently, these changes won’t affect your Product Listing Ads if you are using Shopping campaigns, and, as with all Search changes, will not affect your Display campaigns. Ads shown directly in the Knowledge Graph will also not be affected.

Alternative traffic sources

Paid traffic is valuable, and as it’s fully trackable and flexible, makes a perfect addition to the marketing strategy for most businesses. However, if you find that you are losing traffic after Google’s changes, then it could be time to reassess the other areas of digital marketing. For example, your organic presence on Google just got a lot more valuable, so you should check how SEO-friendly your site is. You could also reassess your paid and organic social media channels. This will future-proof your digital presence in case the cost of AdWords clicks rises more than expected.

If you would like some more information about SpiderGroup’s PPC management services, or any other aspect of digital marketing, then get in touch on 0117 933 0570.

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