Google Scraps Sidebar Ads, Adwords Rivalry Intensifies

Google remains the world’s top search engine, and any change it imposes will substantially affect us and you, our clients, and all those who live and breathe digital marketing. February marked this year’s biggest Google modification – the unveiling of a new SERPs layout on desktops with significant consequences to digital marketers and Adwords clients worldwide.
In a nutshell, the changes are: Ads

  • No more text ads on the right rail of desktop search results
  • Four text ads instead of three to show above organic results
  • Three text ads to show below organic results
  • Text ads on SERPs goes down to seven from about eleven
  • Product listings and Knowledge Panels to show on right sidebar

What to expect from the changes?As we continue to gather and analyse available data concerning recent changes in desktop SERPs, we take note that the following are highly likely:

  1. CTR will increase for top four ads

With four ad positions available on top of the fold of organic results, those in these positions will naturally benefit from the having premium ad placements.  Better ad placements lead to more ad views and ultimately more ad clicks, which translate to higher click-through rates.

  1. CTR will decrease for top five ads and below

Top five to seven ads are sure to scavenge for ad views and clicks, as they now have to hope searchers notice them right after browsing through four other ads and organic results before reaching them. Meanwhile, top 8 ads may have to see substantial decline in CTRs as they struggle to even generate ad impressions.

  1. CPC will increase to vie for the top four positions

Google will definitely see it fit to increase the minimum cost per click to determine the top four ads for a given search term, as a natural by-product of supply and demand. For marketers who rely on generating a high volume of leads or have huge sales targets, they will immediately feel the impact of any increase in CPC, starting with a higher cost per acquisition.

  1. Organic results will shrink

About two years, an Advanced Web Ranking study revealed that organic search results garnered up to 82.8% of the clicks at desktop SERPs, and only 17.2% went to paid ads (11.69% of which went to top three ads and 5.51% to sidebar ads). With Google’s new layout, organic results are pushed down with every line of ad extension coming from the top four ads. This means, we can expect fewer organic listings, if not none at all. In February 20, 2016, a Twitter user said that not a single organic listing came out for “content marketing” keyword.

What does this mean for Enform clients?

It is apparent that the most coveted positions for Adwords marketers are now down to four. Being in the digital marketing business for quite some time, we know that competition is not going to get any easier, it will only get tougher. The recent changes to Google’s desktop search results are proof of that.

Nevertheless, change is exciting and we at Enform take on the challenge of acclimatising to every change that comes our way, re-analysing our strategies, and shifting gears as necessary to maintain our competitive stance.We have to hold on though for the possible increase in CPC as marketers become more aggressive in getting these positions. With higher CPC come fewer clicks, so we need to adjust the budget accordingly.

If you wish to have an in depth discussion on how Google’s new desktop SERPs layout can affect your business in particular and how we can help you remain competitive, please send us a message via our contact page .