Google has announced that it is planning to discontinue text ads on the right hand side of the page on search results. The intention is to display up to a maximum of four text ads above the organic listings, and three more at the foot of the page. This means that the total number of text ads per page will be just seven, contrasting sharply with the eleven that appear when the right rail is included.
Many PPC experts fear that this means that the cost of advertising will increase overall, as advertisers will be competing for a smaller number of spaces, so bids will be more competitive.
Google is making the change because it wants to make the search results appear more uniformly across mobile and desktop. This move coincides with the increasing emphasis that the search giant is placing on mobile, as more and more users are choosing to make smartphones their primary device.
On mobiles right now, the entire first screen shows text ads and users need to scroll below the fold to get to the first organic listing. Under the new system, on desktop devices, the only things that will show on the right hand side of the screen are Google Shopping results and any information for the knowledge pane.
The Top of The Screen is In Demand
While some are concerned about the loss of the cheaper right pane text ads, the top of the screen has become the most in-demand real estate. Users are becoming increasingly ad-blind, and this means that the side bar ads don’t get a lot of clicks. Add to this the fact that only the top results are noticed on mobiles, and it’s easy to understand why the results at the top of the screen are so desirable.
The planned changes will make a difference to Google Shopping advertisers too. In a bid to stop advertisers circumventing the change by using Google Shopping for their ads, anyone who wants to use Google Shopping for major brands will be required to provide GTIN or UPC codes for the brands in question.
This will help Google to build a better comparison engine – and have the side effect of allowing Google to disapprove ads that should not be there. Google Shopping Advertisers will have until the 16th May to provide the information, or risk their products being removed from the platform.