Google Changes Ad Placement

9th March 2016

Search engine Google has made changes to its search engine result page that means that the desktop version of the site will no longer feature PPC ads in the right sidebar. The new format will see adverts appearing at both the top and bottom of the page.

The move should not come as a major surprise. The search giant has been experimenting with the four-advert layout since at least 2010 when it launched a test on mortgage providers.


Changes To Ad Placement on Google: What We Know So Far

PPC experts will no doubt be pouring over statistics in the coming week’s, analysis the cost benefits of each position. Here though is what is known so far:

  • Google will serve four text ads instead of three above the organic listings for “highly commercial queries” This means that the three ad format (minus the sidebar) will continue to exist for more information-driven queries that Google believe will not be lead directly to a sale. In many cases, three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs. This means that there is now a maximum of seven ads per page.
  • No text ads will be served on the right rail of the search results on the desktop. Product listing ad blocks and Knowledge Panels will be shown here instead of on relevant queries.

The side panels have been popular in the past due to the relatively good click share for the price. Normally lower availability of a needed commodity usually causes price increases.

However, there is some evidence that many PPC users are holding back on reorganising their accounts until the full scale of the effects become evident. Once large purchasers of ad space begin to the alter their strategy to optimise their exposure following the shift to the 4 top ads layout we can expect to see increased volatility.


Change Highlights the Need for an Omni-Channel Approach

The latest shift to PPC ads underlines the advantages of creating a good omnichannel experience for your potential website visitors. Multiple outlets, allow you to contact your potential customer across these multiple channels, offsetting cost rises in one area, against other forms of effective and targeted advertising.