If you’ve been paying attention, you might’ve noticed that Google looks a little bit different lately. Namely, that the paid ads within search results are missing from the right hand side of the page. To compensate, the company has put the top four paid search results in a more prominent position, “above the fold” and before the organic listings.
Aside from being interesting and experimental, what does this shift really mean? And if Google decides to keep things this way, should marketers really care?
Although it might not seem like a very big change, permanently removing right-side ads could have some important implications for marketers. Amongst them, there are two in particular you should watch out for:
The Removal of Right-Side Ads Means More Competition for the Top PPC Spots
The most obvious side effect of fewer visible ad positions would be increased bidding and competition for the top AdWords spots. Indeed, this might be exactly what Google is aiming for by trying a new configuration in the first place.
That might mean bigger budgeting for PPC ads, but it could also entail keeping a closer eye on conversions to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth for every click.
Fewer AdWords Text Positions Will Mean More Attention for Other Platforms
Because higher costs and more competition will likely mean decreased PPC returns, on average, you can bet marketers will start looking for other ways to reach customers. We could see a surge in video marketing, remarketing ads, and even Facebook advertising.
What do You Think?
It’s too early to say whether the removal of right-side AdWords messages is permanent, or just an experiment by Google’s engineers. What is clear, though, is that marketers should be on their toes and start planning for new possibilities in case the new look is here to stay.