Earlier this year, Google announced changes to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to now only show ads at the top and bottom of the search results. The changes will aim to bring the desktop experience closer to the mobile experience, although whether the number of ads shown to mobile users will increase has yet to be confirmed.
Here’s a search for ‘London hotel’ before the change was implemented:
And here is the same search today:
In a nutshell, Google have shifted the fourth ad position to appear just above the organic listings, moved ad positions five to seven to the bottom of the page, AND pushed positions eight to eleven to page two—ultimately creating a more streamlined structure that looks more like the mobile SERP.
After a few months of testing, the Receptional PPC team now have a clearer understanding of what impact this change has had on our clients. Here are a few of our key findings:
- Desktop CPCs (Cost Per Clicks) have remained fairly consistent. The competition for the top four ad positions remains a top priority for all advertisers. Receptional has kept a close eye on the key terms and adjusted bids when needed, rather than increasing bids across the board.
- Click through rates (CTR) on position four rose by 18% and click through rates for the first and third positions rose by 13% and 2% respectively. However, click though rates for the second ad position have not moved at all.
- CTR on shopping ads has also increased and they’re appearing at the top of the page more frequently than ever before since the removal of the side ads.
- Advertisers now have to pay more to reach the top position: smaller advertisers more than large advertisers because the smaller advertisers tend to rely more on low-volume keywords.