Google has just made a big change to the way it displays search ads which could have significant impact on your business. The right hand side of search results will no longer display search ads and will only display Product Listings Ads (PLAs) on highly commercial searches. Find out what this could mean for your business, and how you can utilize these changes to your advantage.

In the past a search engine result page (SERP) would show three paid advertisements above the organic listings, a handful on the right hand side and some underneath the organic results. With the new changes, up to four advertisements will be displayed above the organic search results and there will be no ads shown to the right of the results, except for PLAs in highly competitive commercial searches (such as insurance or airfares). According to Google, the click-thru-rates (CTRs) of ads on the right hand side was poor and this new change is expected to benefit advertisers in the long run, while creating a more user friendly search experience for browsers.

The biggest change this will have for advertisers is unless you are in the top four positions- it is very likely your impressions and CTRs will diminish. Competition for the top four spots will increase resulting in higher bids needed to obtain these spots. Those businesses who do manage to snag a spot in the top four ad results will likely see an increase in impressions and CTRs. Businesses who don’t have a budget to position in the top four will need to be more selective with their keywords and compete on words with a lower CPC or will face being buried underneath organic search results.

These changes will also affect organic search results as an additional ad displayed above organic results will limit the space for organic results on each page. This and the increase of ad extensions will encroach on dwindling organic search result space. Some experts believe the new changes may actually increase the CTR of organic results on the first page as the portion of web traffic that click on right hand ads (5.61%), may now click on organic results instead. Either way vying for that sought-after first page of Google will be more difficult for organic and paid results alike.

The new changes will take on the same layout as mobile searches and will affect advertisers across all languages and around the world. The changes were rolled out on February 18th 2016, and were some of the biggest changes Google has made to the SERPS in years.

So how can you use these changes to your advantage? Paid advertisers need to be selective on their key words and bid competitively. Maintaining a high quality-score through relevant ads, keywords and landing pages, using ad extensions and maintaining strong click thru rates will help secure a top spot. Those selling products can take advantage of the product listing ads to the right and top of the browser. Businesses relying on organic search results need to ensure their SEO strategy is rock solid to compete for a first page rank. As users become more sophisticated and business categories become more competitive it will take expertise and strategy to be displayed on the coveted first page of Google.

Need help with your Adwords (PPC) or SEO? Cloud9 Marketing creates and implements results driven digital marketing strategies using the latest trends and innovations in online and search engine marketing. Contact us today and see how we can help you.

online digital advertising

Online advertising has come a long way in the relatively short existence of the web. Today’s ads come in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms, from simple text to interactive multimedia. Here are 15 online advertising statistics about ad spending, revenues, consumer perception and more.


  1. U.S. advertisers spent over $37 billion on digital advertising in 2012, which amounted to 22% of all ad spending.


  1. Over half of U.S. consumers describe online advertising as “annoying” (68%) and “distracting” (51%).


  1. 36% of consumers and 49% of marketers consider advertising created by professional marketers the most effective form of advertising. 28% of consumers and 27% of marketers, however, believe that user-generated content is most effective.


  1. Earning the consumer’s trust is particularly important when it comes to online advertising. Only 40% of consumers say that they trust ads served by search engines somewhat or completely. 36% trust online video ads and ads on social networks, 33% trust online banner ads and mobile display ads, and 29% trust mobile text ads.


  1. Although 33% of social media users say that ads on social networking sites are more annoying than other online ads, 17% feel more connected to brands that they see on these sites.


  1. 15% of social network users have shared ads on social networks, and 26% have liked such ads.


  1. 14% of social network users have purchased a product as a result of a social ad. 10% purchased a product online, and 8% made a purchase at a store. Also, 18% of users purchased or obtained a coupon as a result of a social ad.


  1. Ad click-through rates vary by browser. Opera users have the highest click-through rate at 2.12%, followed by Safari Mobile users (1.54%) and Internet Explorer users (1.14%).


  1. In the third quarter of 2012, U.S. online advertising revenues reached a record $9.26 billion. This represented an 18% year-over-year increase.


  1. North America is the region that spends the most on online advertising, accounting for 41.7% of global ad spending in 2011. Western Europe comes in second at 28.8%, and Asia-Pacific is third with 24.1%.


  1. Search ads make up 49% of all online advertising. 23% of online advertisements are banner ads, 8% are classifieds, 5% are lead generation ads, 6% are digital videos, 5% are rich media, 3% are sponsorships, and 1% are email ads.


  1. When it comes to online advertising market share, Google is on top with 44.1%. Yahoo and Microsoft claim 12.3%, Facebook has 3.1%, and AOL has 1.5%.


  1. According to a 2012 report by BIA/Kelsey, social media ad spending is forecasted to reach $9.8 billion in 2016, demonstrating a compound growth rate of 21% per year.$9.8-Billion-by-2016.asp


  1. 72.8% of marketers responding to a 2012 Ad Age survey said that they expected their social media advertising budget to increase over the next year. 25.3% expected it to stay the same, and 1.9% expected it to decrease.


  1. A study by AdParlor found that click-through rates for mobile Facebook ads were about 15 times higher than those for non-mobile Facebook ads (1.32% and 0.086% respectively). However, the study also found that mobile ads had a lower conversion rate than non-mobile ads (68.4% compared to 84.16%).

As these statistics illustrate, online advertising has become more complex over the years, but there is still plenty of value in tried and true formats such as paid search. The key is to carefully target your ads so that they reach the right audience and entice them to take action.