It’s been quite a few weeks in the world of Paid Search Marketing. Google recently announced, and carried out, removal of their right side of the page pay per click ads. In the weeks that followed the intertubes were full of doomsday, the sky is falling predictions. We take a more measured approach, and here is what we think it means for paid search marketing in the near future.
A Little Perspective
The right side and bottom of page results only accounted for 14.6% of the clicks in January 2016. So we are talking about losing only a segment of those clicks. BUT added a listing up top, and are now showing more ad extensions in the results pages. (Stat via WordStream)
Non Technical Users are the Biggest Losers
There is still a large contingent of search engine users that aren’t aware that their are paid ads at the top of search engine results pages. It was much clearer that the right side listings were in fact ads. These non-technical users now have one more listing above the fold in most cases, and they probably still won’t notice the difference. But that might mean…
Paid Search Advertisers are the Biggest Winners
At least regarding these non-technical users. More ads up top, and less on the side, could mean more users click on our advertisements instead. And after all, that is one of our main goals. So this could be a net win.
SEO Becomes a Little More Problematic
As if the larger companies, national brands and directory sites weren’t making it hard enough to rank on the first results page organically, now there is one less spot available in the organic listings. Add to this the one additional paid listing at the top pushing organic results further below the fold and our jobs in search engine optimization just got a little bit more complicated.
Campaign Focus Just Got Even More Important
Targeting and campaign specificity just got more critical to running profitable paid search programs. If you haven’t been running more specific campaigns rather than fewer high volume general campaigns now is the time to make the switch. Better optimization means better performance. Time to get on the train.
A Hidden Opportunity?
It’s certainly possible we’ll see an increase in cost per click across the board. Or, we may end up weeding out some of the less sophisticated competition that is currently driving up cost. These exits from the competitive landscape could be just what the rest of us need to better break through the noise.
So it looks like a mixed bag in terms of results. Hopefully we’ll see the fallout start to take shape over the next few months. If you see changes in your program that you think are related to the change, please let us know!