Last month we talked about the potential impact of Google removing their ads from the right hand side of the search results page, flagging greater parity between desktop and mobile and higher CTRs for long tail keywords as likely changes from a Paid Search perspective and the increasing importance of getting to the top organic spots. Now that we’re all used to the big empty space on the right, we decided to have a look at the data and see what changes have come about already…
We expected CPCs to increase due to reduced overall inventory, from 11 positions to just 7. Also, diminished viewable inventory (above the fold) should increase CPCs. Interestingly, brand CPCs are where we’ve seen an instant increase, maybe due to the fact that they consistently appear the top of the page. However, the CPCs only spike for one week and then drop back down to previous levels…
This is about ads being shown in the top positions rather than the sides or bottom of the page. Given that four ad positions are now present, meaning more top of the page inventory is available, we expected more of our ads to be shown in the top four positions. Both brand and generic are positively impacted by the change, as since the change both have a greater portions of their impressions appearing at the top of the page.
We compared a random week before the change and a random week after. As more advertisers fight for the viewable top 4 positions, we expected more ads to drop to lower positions, however given there was very little impact on CPCs, this impact may not be as significant. The data shows that Brand appears to show no distinct change in the positions ads are being shown in. Generics on the other hand, where they have lost out on position one, have grown share in positions 2-4, in line with expectations.
As you can see there’s been no massive impact since the change yet. We’ll continue to monitor and test in the coming weeks, but if you have any queries or questions, contact our Search team.