In the last few days, Google has announced they have united the ad layouts for text ads on Google search results pages across devices. This means that there will now normally be 3 ads above the organic results but none to the side other than Google Shopping ads plus some knowledge graph ads.
For “highly commercial” searches, there will be a 4th ad shown above the organic results. There will also be 3 further ads shown below the organic results. These ads at the bottom are unlikely to get a lot of traffic, however.
In addition, the number of sitelinks will be reduced to 2 per ad but they will more often be extended (which is a sitelink title with 2 description lines).
The main advantage to advertisers is that the average rank metric will be more representative of rank across devices because all devices will show the same number of ad positions.
There are challenges presented here too, however, in that the total number of ad positions is being shrunk dramatically from 11 to 3 or 4 in effect. This ramps up competition for the auction – in a supply and demand sense – and so logic would dictate that CPCs will rise. However, we don’t know if there are other algorithmic changes that are taking place which may temper these rises.
The other factor is that a greater emphasis will be given to Shopping results in commercial searches because there’ll be so many fewer non-shopping ads.
As a result, we will have to keep a close eye on client accounts over the next few days and assess the impact. If you are responsible for running Google AdWords ads, you should also do the same.
As the fallout from this becomes clearer, we’ll blog more about this.