Google has taken the matter seriously: After various test runs, the placement of ads to the right of the search results was discontinued on February 22, 2016. From now on, only a maximum of four ads will be displayed above the search results. Google Shopping results are not affected by the innovation; these will continue to be displayed in the right-hand column.
According to Google, this extreme measure serves to align with the mobile search results. What is certain is that the competitive pressure for the first places is now massively increasing.
What consequences does this have for you as an advertiser?
Due to the growing competition for positions one to four, you should urgently review your own placement and restructure your campaigns accordingly.
Until now, advertisers have often used AdWords ads to drive traffic to topics for which they were unable to earn top rankings in organic search results. Since in this use case the keywords and ads do not optimally match the target page, a poorer quality factor combined with a higher click price was accepted. This "midfield strategy" will now hardly be possible.
These strategies will emerge in the future:
- Concentration on the top keywords: here, the keyword, ad text and target page match optimally. Bids may have to be increased.
- Massive content marketing: If no optimal target pages exist, these must be written.
- Achieve a higher ad rank: For example, use ad extensions, increase the quality factor, or raise bids.
- Switching to the display network
- More intensive use of mobile advertising
- Reduction/discontinuation of the remaining campaigns
You should take this innovation as an opportunity to check, clean up and revise your AdWords account. In doing so, it is important to separate the "wheat from the chaff" according to the new specifications, but not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater". Individual criteria must be defined according to which a page visit is evaluated as successful or unsuccessful after an ad click.
As a Google partner with several certified AdWords experts, Blackbit is happy to support you both in measuring and optimizing as well as in working out alternatives.