Google made a huge announcement last week in relation to how ads will be presented from now on. As of February 19, 2016, Google began phasing out ads on the right hand sidebar. In place of these ads the search engine giant will show somewhere between 1 and 4 ads above the fold, sending the rest to the bottom of the results page. This is a major change for those that rely on paid ads to drive traffic and create traction. However, because the move will make desktop results more similar to mobile search results, we expect most who utilize this feature to adjust just fine. This move comes after about 6 years of testing – and tweaking – and the fact that many users were seeing the ‘top-only’ ads on a frequent basis. It is important to keep in mind that the addition of the fourth ad (which will be above search results) is intended for “highly commercial queries” only, such as “car rentals in Houston”.
So, what does this mean for you? For starters, it will actually provide an advantage to smaller brands, as they no longer have to compete with the highly visible paid ads for big name companies. This move should create a fairer playing field, so to speak, for those who use paid ads on Google. Because Google has decided to remove the right hand ads after a 6 year experiment, it’s safe to say not that many people clicked on those ads to begin with. The intention behind Google’s little ad project was to see how the sidebar ads impacted revenue, and since they have decided to go away with them, it likely means they believe brands can make more via other revenue streams.
Understanding the Exceptions
Before we go any further, it should be noted that there are two exceptions to this new stipulation. While most companies will begin to notice the disappearance of the right sidebar from their search results in the coming weeks, there are two situations that are exempt:
- Product Listing Ad (PLA) Boxes – These are ads with images that pop up whenever a user searched for a specific product. In the past, PLAs have shown up within search results and on the right sidebar, and this will remain the same even as Google begins to do away with all other ads on the right.
- Knowledge Panel Ads – Users will notice that Knowledge Panel widgets will still show up on the right sidebar of search results.
Besides these two exceptions, Google will slowly begin removing all right sidebar ads worldwide, in every language. As mentioned above, Google will counteract this move by showing as many as four ads at the top of search results as well as an additional few at the bottom, directly above the page navigation panel.
What Does This Mean?
Fear not, paid ad users, as Google’s most recent move is not intended to throw a wrench into your digital marketing campaign. With the addition of the ads on the top and bottom of the search results, the search engine hopes to create more organic interest, instead of simply inundating people with the same ol’ ads, time and time again. With more and more people using their mobile device to shop, find a nearby restaurant, or see what time an auto body shop is open until, this change should make the transition from mobile to desktop searches easier.
As with any move like this, there is sure to be an adjustment period where advertisers are testing the waters in order to see what works and what doesn’t. To learn more about how this may affect your Frisco digital marketing strategy, please contact Tech-Critic today.