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Google Adwords Changes Format of Display on Right-Hand Rail

Firstly. Do NOT Panic but we Wanted To Share Some Big changes on Google Adwords
The Right Hand Side Adverts have Been Removed

Please read the below and digest but we must highlight there is nothing for any of our clients to alarm themselves with. As a leading Google PPC agency in the UK and an official Google Premier Partner, we were aware of these changes on February the 19th but felt it imperative that we assess the impact of the change last week before addressing it with you.
This is a pretty big change by Google and in time each business will need to address their own strategy. With over 50% of all advertising budgets in the UK now spent on digital marketing and 51% of all searches occurring on a mobile device it is no surprise that this change has been implemented. We will work with you closely over the coming weeks to ensure we are maximising your budgets in the right way.
Once you have read the below and you have any questions please feel free to contact your local Digital Director to discuss the changes and what they mean to you specifically.

All About The Changes To Google’s Ad Layout On Desktop Search Results

Last Friday, February 19, 2016, — Google confirmed that search results pages on desktop will no longer show text ads in the right sidebar. Instead, as many as four text ads will display on above the organic listings and three text ads will to show at the bottom of the page.   There will certainly be a lot of analysis to come on what this change means for advertisers – impressions, CPC, CTRs, average position, etc. Here’s what we know so far about the move.

What Exactly is Changing?

All of the changes confirmed on Friday pertain to desktop search results on Google.com and Google search partners.   There are a few elements included in the changes to desktop results:

  1. No text ads will be served on the right rail of the search results on desktop.
  2. Google will serve four text ads instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more “highly commercial queries” (more on that below).
  3. Three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs.
  4. The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of 7.
  5. Product listing ad blocks and Knowledge panels (sometimes with ads as tests continue in these spaces) will show in the right rail on relevant queries.

These updates are rolling out permanently worldwide on both Google.com and search partners — though not all search partners offered sidebar inventory.

Was This Shift Sudden?

While the confirmation that Google would no longer show text ads in the sidebar on desktop came as a shock to many, it’s been simmering for some time.   Google has been testing variations of this theme for several years now. The first time Google started experimenting with four ads above the organic results was in 2010, on mortgage queries. Late last year, many users began seeing the four ads appear on other queries, with no ads appearing in the sidebar.   That said, when Search Engine Land asked Google about the testing last December, we were told that it was not permanent and was only running on a small number of queries. And then last week happened.

Does This Mean CPCs Are Going To Skyrocket?

It’s too soon to tell. Many are predicting that fewer ads will lead to higher prices, as a supply and demand story would conclude. Yet, it may not be that simple. First, there is the question of whether advertisers will be willing to bid the same for bottom-of-the-page ads as they were for right rail ads.
As a Digital NRG client, we want to assure you that at this stage there is no need to take action. We were fully aware of this change on the 19th of February and we decided to take stock last week and assess the situation for you. We have not yet seen a dramatic plunge in Click Through Rates, Cost Per Clicks have yet to significantly rise but it is early days.
What is clear is that advertisers running bid-to-position strategies will need to make updates. That alone may cause auction patterns to fluctuate for a period as advertisers react to one another’s adjustments.

What does this change mean to you?

You and your account manager need to assess you page rankings to date, your best converting position and consider the buying funnel/process for your market sector. This requires all historic data and indeed data gathered over the next few weeks to make a comparison.

Do I need to spend more money to increase my bids?

An easy and lazy answer for many marketeers could be yes you do but this is not necessarily going to be the case. We need to look at how your competitors react first and learn form your own CTR’s, CPC’s and average positions before an informed decision can be made.
Sure, there are now potentially only top 4 slots above the fold and if your average position was 4-7 and it accounted for half of your traffic this needs to be assessed quickly. However, if your competitors reduce bids and are not willing to fight for top slots and/or users continue to look for more adverts then this change will not really affect you.
Every business and market sectors are different and for big Car Insurance companies, hotels and travel companies there is no doubt cost per clicks will rise but this will not be the same across other industries. Book for a review today.

What can be done to strengthen your position?

Improving your quality score will help boost your positions with incurring any additional costs. Are you delivering the right advert for each keyword and then delivering a user to the right landing page? At Digital NRG we will ensure this is the case but adding relevant content and keywords to your website to boost quality scores will help you.

Increase Conversions by Looking at your landing pages?

When we drive relevant traffic to your website it is key to make sure we can engage with customer and increase our chances of converting that lead. Do you have call to action buttons such as request a quote, request a call back or ask a question? This is becoming increasingly more important as visitors to your website out of hours can not engage with you over the phone, so give potential client choice on how they interact with you.

Consider Supporting your PPC Campaigns with a Structured SEO Campaign?

At Digital NRG we firmly believe that PPC is not the one solution to deliver leads and nor is SEO more important than PPC. In 2016 a strategic digital approach that includes SEO, PPC, Social Campaigns, Email Marketing, Video, and Live Chat all tied into a conversion and call-tracking system will deliver you the best return on investment.
Sure, PPC is an essential lead generator for many of our clients and can never be replaced due to the nature of their business and the buying process for that market sector. We just need to ensure over the coming weeks that we work closely together to adapt to these changes and we will be here every step of the way to support you.
Any Questions?
If you have any questions please call one of our account managers on 0333 7000787 or your own local Digital Director who will be only to happy to come and see you to discuss this in more depth. Alternatively please book a consultation online now and suggest a date and time to suit you.