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Where Have All The Google Ads Gone?

By Snap Agency March 4, 2016

Thanks Google! Real nice.

In case you don’t keep up with the latest Google AdWords related news, Google has removed the side bar ads that used to appear to the right of the top ads and organic results. These ads were typically in positions 4-9 and now will be placed at the bottom of the page, or on page 2 of search results. What does this all mean? Well take a look at the search result above, and then at the previous result below from roughly a month ago.

Screenshot (37)


There are obvious differences, and no Google is not incorporating Steve Urkel in place of these ads, but what are the main take aways for your business?

Google Shopping Just Got A Boost

Thanks to this change, google shopping will now be the only item on the right side of the page, making it even more visible than before. You’ll likely see an increase in shopping CTR and overall clicks. This is rather handy considering the push that Google has tried to make in getting more advertisers to adapt Shopping as part of their overall strategy. If you have e-commerce happening on your site it is going to be even more crucial now to make sure you have an active Google Merchant Center feed and are running shopping campaigns.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The competition for the top spots is about to become very, very real. Take away spots 4-9 on the right side which, although less favorable than the top spots, had the ability to create some results if your copy was interesting enough and advertisers have a problem. Google removed a major piece of real estate and this will very likely result in the following.

1. Higher CPC for top spots

2. Lower (almost non-existent) CTR for ads not in the top spot

3. Higher cost per conversion

There is one factor here that may negate some of the above concerns, something which I believe Google is underestimating.

Other Search Engines Still Exist

I’m not referring Ask Jeeves, but the other engines that comprise the big 3 (Bing & Yahoo) are about to become more important. This is going to be more significant in Bing, as they are second in the search market and are generally considered to be the only challenger to Google with a new & improved browser and Bing search being built into Windows 10. As competition builds and budgets get stretched more within AdWords due to higher conversion costs, advertisers will look for other areas to shift money into in an effort to maintain efficiency. This will very likely result in larger investments into social media ads, display, and video; but ultimately could turn into a rush to Bing & Yahoo.

Search marketers, as a whole, have smirked a little at these two channels (for a bevy of good reasons) but it’s about time that changes.