The big speculation around AdWords is that Google is eliminating the right-hand side ads in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). A move that’s been both praised and ridiculed at the same time is being rolled out silently. There hasn’t been an official announcement from Google about this at all. However, advertisers have already started seeing the empty white space on the right-hand side of the SERP and it’s a little disconcerting.
First, let’s take a look at the facts, confirmed through empirical methods:
- For highly commercial queries, in desktops and tablets, Google will show up to a max of four top ads.
- Right-hand side text ads are removed except for Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Bottom ads will remain the same.
- We don’t know when exactly this update will be officially released. The collective speculation is that it will happen immediately.
What motivated Google to do this?
- Ensuring ad-display standardization across tablets and desktops may be one of the primary reasons.
- Google may also want to weed out the micro-retailers and affiliates who are placed in the right-hand side of the page. This is directly linked with Google’s vision to ensure 100% relevant information on SERPs.
What could be the impact ?
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) inflation is quite possible at least for very generic searches.
- PLAs are going to be more competitive as we continue to see more people signing in.
- Investment in SEO is expected to rise.
- Marketplaces are going to be much more lucrative for small-scale retailers.
How can we estimate the impact ?
There is a segment in AdWords called “Top v/s Other” which provides the statistics of the top ads versus other ads. Based on that information, we’ll be able to formulate a better idea about the potential impact and we’ll also be able to educate our clients in a data-oriented manner.
NetElixir is starting a sandbox test to analyze the impact of this update. Our “AdWords Bing Bang Experiment” has been set up and is scheduled to start today. We’ll be sharing our data with you all shortly!