Google’s Take On The Recent Changes To The Results Page
Google recently removed ads from the right-hand side of its desktop search results. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson weighs in on how it might affect your accounts.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Google (my employer) recently removed text ads from the right-hand side of search results. At the same time, it’s now possible for four ads to show above the organic results, albeit on a very small percentage of highly commercially relevant queries.
Combined with the ads that appear below the results (which are unaffected by this change), a maximum of seven text ads can show at any one time. This is down from the previous maximum of 11 ads when including that right rail.
Ultimately, we are making this update to improve the user experience on Google Search and to make that experience consistent across desktop, tablet and mobile. In fact, the majority of our searches happen on mobile these days, which has no right-hand-side ads.
Over time, we’ve found that text ads on the right rail were simply less useful than we’d hoped. In direct terms, users didn’t click on them as much as other ads — and when users don’t click on things, we take that to mean that something wasn’t what they were looking for.
By showing fewer ads, our search experience matches how people actually engage with Google. And, because ads above the results are generally more useful, we’re expanding them for highly commercial queries. (Interestingly, as an aside, PLAs demonstrate strong user interaction when they’re on the right side, so they’re staying put.)
Our experience on mobile, as well as extensive testing on desktop, led us to the conclusion that this change would benefit our consumers who increasingly search across devices. And that testing has given us lots of data about how this change impacts ad performance. While every advertiser and campaign is different, there are a few things the data show.