You may have heard of one of the most exciting developments in paid search recently - Google have removed the paid ads from the right side of search result screens and placed them at the bottom.
Google have been running ads like this on mobile for a while now and I think that their motives are simple, it will drive revenue by making it more important for advertisers to appear in the top 3 - 4 positions. To me this is a shame because often positions 4 or lower do very well from a cost per acquisition (CPA), or return on Investment share (ROAS) perspective. The inventory is cheaper and (our results show) that traffic from these ads is more considered, thus proportionally more likely to convert.
Looking at our paid accounts to date, there has been no loss of CTR so far from paid ads outside the top positions. That said, I don't think that we have seen the ultimate change in stats yet following this move from Google. I believe the market will take some time to adapt, ultimately paid accounts may be spending a little more from an average CPC basis to ensure a higher position.
This change does this provide a permanent place for desktop shopping ads, which are now situated in that right - hand position and have increased to eight ads per search. Shopping ads (or PLAs) are exceptionally effective to all organisations running ecommerce on their sites (there is much more potential than with standard search), but this is obviously another increasing revenue stream for Google.
Now, the really interesting results are in Google Ad Grants. We have seen a significant increase in CTRs for Grant accounts since this change. Looking at our results, the average position grant ads are achieving (which should be unaffected by the change) jumped at the time of Google's switch from 2.6 to 2.1 - This change in position is exceptional. I think that in removing right-hand ads, Google have also changed that part of their algorithm which penalises Grant ads in favour of paying advertisers' ads. As they haven't announced any changes, this could be a mistake in Google's algorithm and something that they will look to address. Either way, there is the potential to capitalise here. Where appropriate (for clients with separate paid accounts) we will be considering moving some of the less competitive terms from paid accounts into the Grant; although I imagine that this opportunity is only in the short term and that Google will soon be tweaking the algorithm again.
You may see some irregularities in the traffic derived from your grant accounts over the next few months as Google make their changes and we make the most of any opportunities that arise. In the short term I do think that there are opportunities here. In the long term, we'll keep you informed as the competition adapts. We'll also be looking out for any further changes to Google's algorithm, especially concerning grant ads and will make any adaptions needed at that time.
If you have any questions, opinions or would like to talk through how we may be adapting our strategy, please don't hesitate to contact us.