If you’ve ever had to ask if Google is prioritizing mobile search, now you know. As of this week, ads will now only appear at the top and bottom of search engine results page (SERPs) with up to four ads now being shown at the top. Google has taken out right-column search ads completely in favor of more ad space at the top and bottom.
Before this change, four ads only showed at the top “ad block” for about 1% of SERPs (search engine results page), but now they account for over one-third of all top ad blocks. That’s right, the norm is now four ads at the top for highly competitive search terms and it’s expected to stay this way.
What changes do we expect to see for your property’s Google advertising?
A mobile advertising presence becomes that much more important
With standardization taking place across mobile and desktop with top and bottom search ads only (mimicking Google’s mobile SERPs), expect to see more emphasis placed on mobile search by both Google and advertisers.
For real estate properties, we heavily emphasize mobile search and mobile-optimized landing pages and expect other advertisers to move in that same direction as there is less ad-space on desktop and less opportunities to “win” first-page ad placement for desktop SERPs. The user experience of a mobile user will win every time so make sure that your campaigns are mobile-optimized.
Expect higher Cost-Per-Clicks (CPC) for first-page ads
Even with the addition of one extra ad space at the top ad-block, expect to see overall ad-space “real estate” decrease with the absence of right-column ads. Expect to see more competition to gain ad-space on the top and bottom areas of the SERP. Over time, CPCs will likely increase as more competitors make moves to show on the first page of the SERPs.
Higher CPCs mean higher search budgets, so other areas of trimming the fat become essential to a successful campaign.
Ad Extensions will be even more crucial
Ad extensions are already crucial features to be utilized for an ad campaign and are directly tied to how successful an ad campaign can be. But not all search ads previously displayed ad extensions and were directly tied with your ad placement. With the removal of right-column search ads and more ad-space given for other ads, expect to see ads display more ad extensions.
In an industry like multifamily, with dozens of amenities and the importance of location, ad extensions are essential and will eventually be utilized by all competitors. Gone are the days of just advertising a few lines of copy and the website. You now need to make sure your ads are advertising a trackable phone number, amenities (structured snippets in Adwords), advertising callouts, and connected to Google Business.
Quality Scores are important to understand and improve on
As competition for first page ad-space increases and CPCs increase, advertisers are looking for better ways to beat the competition and the first metric to look at is Quality Score. Quality Score is a tool that Google uses to determine an ad’s relevance and rewards relevant ads with better ad placements and lower CPCs. This is one of the biggest metrics that can save you money. Expect to see more effort placed in increasing Quality Scores.
Expect significant organic search changes
With search ads at the top now further cannibalizing organic search results by pushing those organic links down, expect to see a marginal decrease in organic search traffic. Google has heavily prioritized users clicking through to their search ads over organic results and this change is right in line with their goal.
With less space on the first-page for organic results, it will be more important than ever to understand your website’s presence on the SERP and find out how you can rank higher organically.
What are your thoughts on this news? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at @GoToMyApartment. Thanks for reading!