Ok, so what happened?

A short time ago, Google announced it would be getting rid of the Adwords placements you normally see on the right-hand side of a Google search results page.

Google have also since confirmed that the only thing that will appear in its place (at least for now…) will be Product Listing Ads (AKA PLAs).

As with most change, this sent the digital marketing industry into a tailspin…

What does this look like?

Here’s a before and after of the Google Search results page:

Before: 

Screenshot 2016-03-30 18.27.18

After: 

Screenshot 2016-03-31 09.05.05

What does this mean for advertisers and businesses?

In short, the way in which this change affects you really depends on your individual situation. We’ve covered the most common below and what it might mean for you, but if your situation isn’t mentioned here, let us know in the comments!

If you already use Adwords

If you’re already an Adwords advertiser, this means that some of your poorer performing ads may begin to do even worse…

Adstream have put together some great graphs using real data from their client’s accounts to analyse the effect of these changes.

The biggest losers here have been shown to be those ads appearing is places 8 – 11, as they have now been pushed off the first page and onto the no-mans-land of second page.

Following closely behind are also most likely to be those ads appearing in positions 5 – 7 as they have dropped to the bottom of the page.

Now for the good news: the biggest winner looks to be those ads in position 3, and it looks like we’re now starting to see three ads at the top of the page, rather than just 2.

If you don’t already use Adwords

If you don’t already use Adwords, this may have made things a little more competitive and therefore difficult to get started.

With fewer text ad positions up for grabs on the home page, you are going to have to be smart about your campaign and budget planning to ensure you’re giving yourself your best shot at achieving one of the top positions and attracting quality traffic.

Products vs Services

If you’re a services based business, this change really only affects ads appearing in positions 5 – 10 as we’ve mentioned above.

If your business is selling products online however, this change represents a great opportunity in the form of increased visibility for PLAs.

Screenshot 2016-03-30 18.47.19

PLAs are a specific ad type that dynamically pull in specific product information and images, and are now appearing with some searches in the right-hand side column.

Being above the fold and taking up significant real estate on the 1st page, this is likely to result in increased impressions and click-throughs for well thought-out ads.

 

If you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the Adwords pool, or are concerned your campaigns could be better, get in touch to see if we can help!