You may have noticed that Google is looking a little, well, naked. With the search giant retiring its right-hand adverts for desktop, what was formerly a territorial battleground for Pay-per-Click ads is no more. But how will this affect your advertising efforts in the search space?
There’s only space for hyper-relevant results
Google now displays ads 1-4 above the fold, a space reserved for “a very small percentage of highly commercially relevant queries”, according to Google’s Matt Lawson, and up to three ads at the bottom of the page. This is down from the previous maximum of 11 ads when including that right-hand rail.
User experience has to be front of mind
Google has been toying with the idea of removing the right-hand ads for a while, conducting tests that proved traffic to right-hand ads wasn’t meeting Google’s expectations. The steps taken are designed to improve user experience by providing more useful results, with increased relevancy between search terms and ad copies coming into focus.
Mobile bidding will become more aggressive
With Google’s desktop layout now mirroring Google’s mobile layout, you have the opportunity to invest more budget in advertising to users on mobile devices. According to Lawson, Google is “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.”
So, how can you evolve your PPC strategy?
Google’s stripping of the right-hand ads may be daunting but there’s plenty of tactics you can deploy to make sure you brand stays visible. Follow these tips to get the most out of your campaigns:
1. Monitor your reporting often
It’s useful to look at segmented report where you will be able to control your campaign performance more accurately.
2. Improve the quality of your ads
Choosing all extensions that are relevant to your business. This will help improve your quality score and help you get a higher ranking.
3. Keep an even closer eye on budget
Bid wisely according to the performance of your ads but don’t be afraid to test and learn using small amounts of budget. Tests by Google have concluded that the effect of the update on cost-per-click is not significant.
4. Get your ads in front of the right people
Refine your audience through remarketing lists or Google’s Customer Match.
5. Nail down your messaging
Are your ads as relevant as they could be? Make sure your ad copy is as relevant to your target keywords as possible and include authoritative, high quality messaging.
What about SEO?
SEO will become even harder for the big competitive terms and long-tail search terms will become more important. An even greater emphasis will also be placed on conversion. As SEO becomes more difficult or you have to pay more, it's crucial that your landing pages convert.
Branding and retention also has to work harder. If you can get users searching for your brand directly rather than products, organic real estate becomes less important.
The job of the PPC marketer is to increasingly provide the best possible experience but it will take time to measure the impact of the removal of the right-hand side ads. Start by paying close attention to the impact on your CPC and Quality Score and follow our tactics for evolving your strategy accordingly.