Last February, Google made announcements regarding the removal of text ads on the right sidebars of the search result pages. Rather, Google search engines users would start seeing at most four ads above the organic listings, and another three ads could be found at the bottom of the page.
Still, analysis should be concerning the impacts of these changes made by Google. For example, analysts would have to consider different factors, such as impressions, CPC, CTRs, average position, and others. Thus, for those who have noticed the said changes yet, there are some things that they should know.
DETAILS ON THE CHANGES
With the announced changes, some of the most prominent ones could be noticed on the desktop results:
Absence of text ads on the right rail of the search results.
Inclusion of four text ads on the mainline area above the organic listings. The ads are said to be for more highly commercial queries.
Text ads would be placed at the bottom of the search engine results pages.
The total number of texts ads shown will be reduced from 11 to seven.
Product listing ad blocks as well as the Knowledge Panel could now be accessed on the right rail on the relevant queries.
The updates were expected to be implemented worldwide, though not all the search partners would be offering the sidebar inventory.
WHY THE NEED FOR THE SUDDEN SHIFT
A lot of people were surprised by the sudden changes implemented by Google, but it seems that the company had already been planning them for quite a while. In fact, Google had already conducted some tests.
In 2010, Google began their study on the four ads located above the organic listings, which basically included mortgage queries. Then last years, more people started noticing the new format of the ads that appeared along with other queries. However, the sidebars contained no ads.
With regard to the said changes, Search Engine Land made inquiries to Google regarding about the tests, and Google replied that those changes were not final yet and the test was only conducted on a small number of queries.
However, just as mentioned, Google expanded the changes to everything searched on their search engine. In fact, Merkle RKG’s Andy Taylor noticed the slow shift in the ads of Google search results.
DEFINING HIGHLY COMMERCIAL QUERIES
As stated, with the changes in the search result pages, four ads would now be seen with the search results. These so-called highly commercial queries would include examples, such as “hotel in New York City” or “car insurance”
However, when you take close look, it seems that such queries refer to those which Google intends to purchase.
THE IMPACTS OF THE SAID CHANGES ON PRODUCT LISTING ADS AND AD TESTS IN KNOWLEDGE PANELS
At the moment, people need not yet to worry about the impacts of changes in the search results pages.
Google conducted some ad tests in Knowledge Panels, and it seems that they will be continuing those tests for a while. In 2013, the tests included some car queries. Then in 2014, addition items were included, such as music, movies, and books. Based on the results, the removal of the right rail ads did not influence the tests on the Knowledge Panels.
However, Google is not yet done running tests. In fact, they have already moved on to testing Product Listing Ad layouts. For example, some people noticed the appearance of an expandable PLA block, which when expanded, displays up to 16 PLAs above the fold on the desktop.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN WITH CPCs
As the changes with Google continue to happen overtime, one can’t help but wonder about the impacts that such changes may have. However, people cannot surmise anything concrete yet. Some think that since there will only be fewer ads on the results pages, the increasing supply and demand would result to higher prices of the ads. Still, there are other factors that should be considered.
For example, it is not known whether the advertisers would be willing for the bottom-page ads just like they did for the right rail ads. Moreover, the additional impression volume of the top-page ads may overcome CPCs as well.
On the other hand, some may not agree with the above hypothesis. And basically, all the things that people say about the Google’s changes are still mere speculations. More data are needed to make any concrete and reliable conclusions regarding Google’s new policies.
At present, no major impacts could be observed on the CPCs yet, but more people are interested with the shift on bid minimums for the first page and top page.
Clearly, advertises would have to take some actions in order to keep up with the updates in Google’s search engine. As a result, there may be some fluctuations in the auction patterns in the near future, as the advertisers try to make the necessary changes on their part.