Last week Google announced that they will no longer show AdWords ads on the right hand side of search results pages. This change was rolled out immediately and will be finalised today.
Google will now only show ads at the top and bottom of SERP (closer aligning desktop experiences with mobile). The number of ads in this placement will be up to four, depending on how commercial the search query is.
So what does this mean for Google, users and advertisers? Well, for Google it (unsurprisingly) means increased profitability as less ad space = higher cost for advertisers. It's likely that the click-through rate of RHS ads was poor and Google expects that the cost-per-click inflation from this change will be more profitable.
Regular users won't notice much difference, the space will be used for Product Listing Ads and Knowledge Graph Boxes. The ads that you do see will be more relevant to your search query and therefore users can expect an improved Google experience. However, its worth noting that Google seem set on pushing down organic results further and further below the fold.
For advertisers the change isn't so positive. Our clients can rest assured that their campaigns are closely monitored, adjusted accordingly and therefore won't be affected. If you run your own ads and are worried about your current strategy it may be worth taking a look at your Adwords account and comparing your 'Top' and 'Other' placements. If you'd like our help with your ads please get in touch!
On average RHS placements were a cheaper option for advertisers but didn't perform so well (hence Google's change). The new limited placements will undoubtedly drive up average cost-per-clicks so advertisers should prepare themselves for a battle over those top slots. For us it simply means additional work into search engine optimisation, a service that we offer alongside paid media.