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You may have recently noticed that Bing is currently trialling a new look search results page that has pay per click ads merged in with organic results.  

You will no doubt be familiar with the look of the traditional search results page (below), as it is the standard for the main search engines, with the usual banner ads immediately above the organic results and accompanied by further PPC ads on the right-hand side of the results (also known as right-rail ads).

Traditional Bing Search Results Page

We have not seen the merging of ads with organic results like this before (below) and think it is certainly an interesting test.

Test Bing Search Results Page

It is difficult to say what impact this will have. Some may suspect that advertisers will receive more clicks on the ads that are merged in with the organic results. Some may also suspect that the user experience will be poorer gieven that advertisers can effectively buy their way into the organic results in a stealthly fashion, given that the ad label is relatively small and not as noticeable to those less technologically savvy users.

However, we know from click heat maps and our own experience as advertisers that the ‘golden triangle’ is where the majority of clicks result, and clicks on these ads would be outside the hot spot of the golden triangle on the test page. Either way, we’re sure that Bing’s competitors will have one eye on this to see what the impact might be. 

SERP Heatmap Example

As an advertiser, if I had a choice of being either one of the newly merged ads or the top result to the right of the search results, on the face of it, I would pick the right hand side. This ad would traditionally be ad position 3, but I suspect that it may deliver better results in Bing’s test.  I could well be wrong though and would certainly love to test this. Who knows, I may well be surprised. Time will tell!

How do you feel about this?