Sponsored Ads in Google Moving to Bottom of Search Results

Google has made some recent changes to improve the user experience when an ad auction is performed upon entering a search query. Now, the Sponsored ads that would typically appear to the right of the search engine results appear below the Organic listed results. Who will this affect the most? The advertiser of course! It’s already difficult for some advertisers to nail down the coveted “Top” spot located above the Organic listings. Before these changes, at least, ads had a chance of showing above the fold (and competitors) while being featured along the side.

Now an advertiser has to hope that their ads will be seen after the searcher decides they didn’t like the top ads OR any of the 10 listed organic ads, and made it down to read the bottom-of-the-barrel ads (ironically today only, if you Google ‘do a barrel roll’ you’ll get a cool screen change).

Naturally you can imagine the heaps of advertising villagers running to the Google compound with pitch forks to protest against this (or perhaps less threatening, they’ll occupy their offices). Google’s defense: we have tested this!

“In many cases, we have found that displaying ads below search results fits better into the user’s flow as they scan the page from top to bottom. On average, this placement performed better than side ads in terms of click-through rate in our tests”. 

Source: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/11/new-ad-placements-on-search.html

Well! Since I have a few ads running, you know, being an online marketer and all, I thought I would check and see how they have done over the last 24 hours since the new launch:

Search campaign CTR

Hmmmm. It would appear that my Google Search: Other (otherwise known as “not top”) is performing the worst. Less than 0.60% CTR!! This is nearly unheard of for this particular client. What does this mean for their overall account CTR and individual Quality Scores? Will these placements end up being more expensive because the CTR’s will be lower? Will we be fighting to be the top of the bottom? Will ads start to occupy the space below organic listings because they aren’t the 1% that could make it to the top?

Ok – I may be getting overly excited, it has been only 24hours. I promise to provide an update on how my client’s account changes as Google search engine users get used to the idea that ads are now on the bottom.

Questions about these changes or other paid search advertising topics? Write your comments below and I’ll reply to them.

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