Exclusive Data: Right Hand Ads SERP Effect

A while back we announced the fact that Google was removing right hand ads: 
Google Delete Right Hand Ads
 
Many were concerned that this could have a negative impact on SMEs using AdWords to promote their business on Search Engines Results Pages (SERPs). We took a look at that too:
 
impact SMEs right hand ads

Following on from our full data analysis of the impact of the SERP changes across our advertiser base we have (as promised) been crunching the numbers and analysed the impact over a longer time range on Click Through Rate (CTR) for our data set.
 

CTR By Position

There have been noticeable changes in CTR based on position over the last 30 days; position 1 and position 4 have a strong correlation, resulting in a reduction CTR across position 1 immediately after the SERP change. Then, we see a gradual increase over the next 14 days with CTRs gradually reducing again as results stabilise.
Right Hand Ads Follow Up
 
The conclusion of this, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the SERP change is to blame. If we look at impressions by position we can see that following the February change there was an immediate clamour of advertisers to get in position 1 (probably fueled by position 1 SERP scaremongering….mobilegeddon anyone?) With so many advertisers across our base pushing for position 1, the CTR didn’t necessarily improve for everyone.
 
Right Hand Ads Follow Up
 

And this affects your wallet how…?

Right Hand Ad Removal Impact on CTR
Well, we can see that overall there has been a general CPC increase across the board for position 1, with its peaks in line with the clamour we saw in the graph above. Conversely, we see that position 2 has actually seen a gradual decrease in average CPC.

How can that be? Surely, if everyone is bidding more it’s making it more expensive for everyone, right?

 
Not necessarily. With advertisers competing more aggressively for position 1, a common theme we’re seeing is advertisers limiting themselves by budget and missing out on auctions all together, giving the savvy advertiser more room and value in position 2 once less tactical advertisers have expended all their budget fighting for vanity!
Right Hand Ads Follow Up
 
One thing that might drastically change this is Google’s changes to AdRank and ad formats which will mean that the higher the ad shows the more likely all extensions will show, this will have a massive impact on CTR and we’ll be doing a follow-up post on that and impression share analysis later this week. Check back for more! 

Google Removing Right Hand Ads – True Impact on SMEs

As our customers will know (because we’ve emailed them about it!), Google recently rolled out a new format for the search engine results page – removing right hand ads from results pages. You can read more about that here. Here at Broadplace, we’ve been interested to see the impact of these changes for future advertisers, as well as our existing client base – predominantly SMEs.
As a data-driven organisation, we have been tracking and analysing the opportunities and impact so far across our customers’ campaigns. We’ve used the data from hundreds of advertisers, across a wide range of verticals to draw insight and educate both our own teams and feeding this information back to our clients. We think the results will be of interest to anyone in charge of PPC campaigns for SMEs.
We agreed wholeheartedly with the comments and analysis from Wordstream’s Larry Kim and Kevin Ryan of SearchEnglineLand. In fact, we too have been preaching that any change to the SERP that is designed to provide a more user-friendly and native feel to adverts will be of benefit to the end user (your potential customers). We have seen that, so far, the negative impacts across our client base have been minimal.

No CPC Increase Trend

Based on the data below, we can see a few small CPC peaks across our database following the update on Friday 19th February. This, however, has been most likely linked to end of month pay day rush for share of voice, and since then we have seen a relatively steady decline in CPC across our many search campaigns.
 
Increase in CPCs Right Hand Ads
 
Similarly, we have seen shopping/product listing ads take brief spikes in share of PPC traffic. Here too, however, after the 25th February, we are seeing a relative return to normalcy.
 
Shopping Share Impact Right Hands Ad
 
We have however noticed a steady decline and drop off in the shopping CTR of campaigns leading up to and following the new search layout launch – this may indicate increased opportunity and visibility for for product listings as we saw impressions increase across accounts.
 
Shopping CTR Right Hand Ads Impact SMEs
 
 
Click-through-rate (CTR) by position has also seen some effect with position 4 and 3 having CTR increase steadily at the expense of position 2.
 
 
Right Hand Ads Impact CTR
 
 
In conclusion we’re seeing so far that there have been negligible effects on CPC’s for SME’s, but that intention in both position and Search vs. Shopping are increasingly important. More than ever, by bidding to the true value of a visit advertisers can correctly weigh up the impact to their business over the next few days.

We’ll be keeping our customers posted on any changes to their accounts as we progress through March to make the most of the new opportunities this change has ushered in.

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