Life After Right-Side Ads

Posted by
Joshua Farrington
Date
 9 March, 2016
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Have you gone back to the drawing board after Google’s SERP change? The search giant’s latest changes to its advertising has done away with right-side ads completely, reducing the number of total ads on the page and adding a new fourth top ad.

The change is perhaps the biggest consumer-visible change to date and brands have been forced to take notice. One major insurance client told us:

“This change means we need to go back to the drawing board, it changes our whole strategy. Now more than ever we need full visibility on activity in the marketplace.”

Commentators have predicted that the impact of the changes could be felt for a long time afterwards. Christopher Ratcliff at Search Engine Watch said:

“For Paid Search advertisers the change will certainly drive up average CPCs as the competition for the top slots increases”.

He added bluntly: “It’s gonna get ugly.”

Meanwhile, Larry Kim on Search Engine Land struck a note in caution in weighing up the changes:

“It’s possible some might lose, but that’s always been the case with Google changes. Just keep monitoring your campaigns and adjusting your accounts as needed.”

 

So what’s changed?

 

The new layout on the desktop SERP brings with it some potentially huge changes. The new fourth top ad essentially takes the spot of what was previously the top organic listing, and for many consumers, organic results may be below the fold entirely. All top ads now have a full range of extensions as well, further pushing down organic listings and increasing the potential for strong, impactful ads. However, with the loss of right-side ads, the number of overall ads on the page is reduced, and advertisers who were traditionally appearing on those lower right-side spots may now find themselves falling off the visible SERP altogether, or pushed to the rarely-clicked bottom set of ads.

 

CarInsuranceSERP

 

What does this mean for me?

 

The impact of the changes will be closely monitored in the coming weeks and months, but likely changes include:

– CPC fluctuation with more competition

– Impression share changing

– A difference in CTR for various ad positions

– Unique offerings and ad copy becoming more important

– Organic listings altering in response

There are a number of opportunities for large brands to consolidate their dominant positions while smaller advertisers are forced down the page: conversely, challenger brands who can react quickly are in a strong position to take advantage of the new landscape and use it to their benefit. The key to mastering the change will be utilising data, analysing trends and acting on insights into your market.

 

How can I find these insights?

 

Now more than ever, brands need visibility into their marketplace, and Adthena, the leading source of competitive intelligence for search, can provide that. Adthena’s unique whole-market view shows brand’s their entire relevant search landscape, benchmarking their performance against that of their competitors, showing Share of Voice, CPCs, search term gaps, head to head comparisons and brand infringements.

Adthena has always tracked the full range of ads on the page, and will continue to closely monitor changes in CTR on the fourth ad and bottoms ads, to factor into CTR models and traffic estimates. As we begin to appreciate the impact on CPCs for all search terms, the knowledge will go on to shape all our learning models as they evolve. Our patented processes are constantly being refined to take into account a variety of factors such as frequency, appearance and ad extensions. In the longterm, we will continue to monitor all these changes as well as the impact of changing organic results and PLAs.

While Google continues to change, clients can trust that Adthena will be there to keep up.

To find out out how you can capitalise on Google’s changes, arrange a demo today.