Google Ad Words Changes and the Future of PPC

In February 2016, Google made a distinct change to Google AdWords and where it places its advertisements, creating quite a stir in the world of SEM and PPC.

The basics of what happened are:

  • Google removed the right rail of ads on most of its searches on Desktop views.
  • It then consolidated the ads, adding one extra ad at the top of search pages, and placing 3 ads at the bottom.
  • What that means is the combined number of ads on a desktop viewed page went from 11 down to 7, but the number of ads people vie for the most (the top of the page) increased from 3 to 4.
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A change of this magnitude caused a lot of nervousness, some visible panic and a whole host of speculation on how AdWords, SERP and PPC would change. People were questioning their ad budgets, their spending, and their future. But here we are almost 2 full months since the change and the world of Google AdWords is pretty much chugging along per usual.

Seer Interactive parsed their own results and shared them with everyone and the statistics were rather comforting. Apparently only 6% of paid traffic on desktop searches was focused on the right rail that disappeared. The other 94% was focused squarely on the top 3 spots.

One of the biggest things to take away from Seer Interactive’s data is that the change in layout shows forethought on Google’s part as in the previous layout, Ad companies had been focusing most of their energy on ad slots 1 to 3. This focus translated into the rail ads not being as big a deal. So removing them hasn’t had a big impact.

In other words, it’s not time to panic. PPC campaigns run through Google AdWords remain the same basic digital marketing tool.

PPC: Google changes AdWords layout

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MetaSense Marketing Ready to Move Forward
For a team like MetaSense, providing Digital Marketing services, Web Design Services, and integrated business solutions in between Philadelphia, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ, this change hasn’t affected our approach one bit. We continue to optimize your ads for your specific keywords and conversion goals.

For the larger picture, this change really only reinforces the mantra we’ve been putting forth for a few years now: The Future is Mobile, and Mobile is now. Every aspect of Digital Marketing needs to consider the impact of mobile devices for both design philosophy as well as marketing strategy. And this change in Google AdWords layout is pretty obviously affected by Mobile as it takes the desktop search results and brings it more in line with the mobile search results in terms of appearance.

The same basic core philosophy behind responsive design is at work on the high level here, as Google streamlines its AdWords usage to look and feel consistent across desktop and mobile, positioning the future to be far more integrated with everything mobile.

So What’s Next?
As we move forward from this change, MetaSense knows two things are in store no matter what else happens.

The first is AdWords itself is getting a major redesign. Note the words Google uses in the headline: “Redesigning AdWords for Marketing in a Mobile First World.” That’s the future right there in plain English from Google itself. Digital Marketing Strategies need to consider Mobile first and every other interface as a support to mobile.

The second is to try and get out ahead of this transition, by focusing on how search is working directly on Mobile. This means being aware of things like what Search Engine Land discovered back in August of 2015, noting that some search queries produced results with all advertisements above the fold on mobile, and no organic results.

MetaSense Marketing already creates campaigns that utilize a targeted blend of Paid and Organic search strategies. It builds stronger long term results and it was designed to keep Mobile in mind as we walked toward a future where people have the internet in their pockets as well as on their desks. That future is right now, as Google’s changes clearly demonstrate.

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