Google Right Side Ads Discontinued

Last month, Google announced a significant change to remove ads on the right side of the desktop search results and only place ads at the top or the bottom of the search results page.

Google now shows four instead of three ads above the search results as seen in the example below:

google desktop ads

 

Ads will not appear on the right side of desktop search results, with two exceptions:

1. Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes (Which show either above or to the right of search results)
2. Ads in the Knowledge Panel

We decided to take a closer look at our Google AdWords Manager Accounts to see if the data we’re seeing, supports what the masses are reporting.

 

Right side ads were discontinued on 2/23, so we downloaded an MCC report:
    • Comparing 1/22 – 2/22 vs. 2/23 – 3/26
    • Avg pos. worse than 0.5 (which should leave us with only text ads)
    • Included Google Search Network Only
    • Included Desktop devices only
    • Removed all trademark/branded campaigns
      • Note: Didn’t include revenue metrics (revenue, AOV, ROI) since AOV can vary across all accounts.

 

roman-fitch“We also tried to removed all trademark/branded campaigns by reviewing campaign names, campaign labels, etc, but there will be some DSA campaigns, RLSA, and SKU campaigns (among others) that might skew the numbers a bit,” Roman Fitch, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.

Here’s a trending graphs/table comparison:
google

 

Discontinuation of Right Side Ads: The Takeaways

newtable

    • Overall spend is slightly up because overall click volume is higher; not because CPCs have increased (in fact, CPCs are down).
    • Clicks aren’t up because impressions are up; clicks are up because CTR is up (in fact, impressions are down).
    • The removal of right side ads appears to have improved avg position for text ads; thus leading to higher CTR and lower CPCs
    • The removal of right side ads had an almost immediate change with little volatility in avg pos, CPCs, and CTR over the past couple weeks following the change.

 

labroi-walton“Now users are seeing an ad where an organic listing used to be and now pretty much the entire above-the-fold area is paid ads. So users, are probably caring less to scroll down to find the organic listing of what they are looking for & just end up clicking the first link that looks like what they want,” LaBroi Walton, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy said.

 

“For example, if I’m looking to get me some candy in bulk for a birthday party, I see so many options above the fold. I just want a good bulk candy distributor. Why not start browsing with one of the 4 options Google just gave me, as I feel it is a waste of time to scroll down to an organic listing.”

 

labroi

 

 

 And even after those results, we see a map w/ local listings:
ae0a4b2d-fb74-46b9-9899-8e7fe5344f3b

 

…then finally organic listings:

 

259c1d61-bc60-407e-b2f5-a6c403d05b27

 

“This definitely pushes the need-for-PPC conversation in a positive direction as Google is making a PPC presence more important than ever if retailers want to gain any business/traction in the marketplace.”

For more on the removal of Google’s right side ads, email tara@cpcstrategy.com

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About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.