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Major Google AdWords Layout Change | Bullseye Strategy

by | Feb 24, 2016

Google mobile search which is even more limited with just two paid ads above the fold. Say what? That’s right – mobile search is now informing desktop search. Because of the limited ad spots on a mobile device, most digital advertisers were seeing higher CPCs on mobile. Follow the money! So let’s get right to the point here.  

Why Google’s change to no right sidebar ads is important and what does it mean for marketers?

  This is a game changer. Adwords beginners beware. The real estate on the first page of Google’s search results is arguably the most sought after advertising space available for sale on the web. There is now less real estate available for sale on desktop search which will increase the costs per click marketers have to pay for their ad to be shown in prime positions above the fold.   That’s why it’s important. Believe me, Google is counting on it. This shift is not happening based on the premise that it creates a better user experience (though this may ultimately be true); rather, it is driven by purely commercial reasons.  

Old AdWords Layout

  Old Google Adwords Layout

New AdWords Layout

  New Adwords Layout   In a blink of an eye, if you were in ad positions 5-10 you just disappeared from page one of Google SERPs. It’s time to reevaluate your Adwords bidding strategy to see if it makes sense to try and compete for the ad spots above the fold on the SERP.   And if you have been in spots 1-3, guess what? Get ready to defend your position because more buyers are coming for your real estate. But at what cost? Will higher CPCs bust your ROI? Or can you still compete profitably and stand your ground?   And to add intrigue, Google throws us a bone by adding a fourth ad position above the organic search results atop the page. This is an opportunity if you play your cards right. How will position four perform for you vs position 1, 2, or 3?  

So now what to do?

  First of all, you need to do an immediate check on your spend and paid search traffic to see how this change is impacting you.   Depending on your bidding strategy, the change can have any of a number of effects. If you were bidding for top of page, are you now spending more money for the same placement? If you were bidding based on a max CPC, did your position drop dramatically causing your spend to go down and traffic to drastically decline?   Make sure you address any dramatic changes ASAP to avoid any lasting impact.   Once you’re sure you are stabilized, now is as good a time as ever to perform a complete audit of your AdWords account setup ensuring your strategy is optimized for Google’s new search paradigm. Also, make sure to annotate the date in Google Analytics so when you look back, you can see when the change happened and what impact it may have had.  

One more thing

  this will have an impact on organic traffic too so be sure to keep an eye on any changes there. With the addition of a fourth ad above highly commercial organic results, traffic from organic will surely be impacted based on the lower position on the page.  ]]>

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