Last month, I wrote about Google dropping right sidebar ads from their SERPs.  While this was a big change, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This was not a knee-jerk change.  Google had plenty of data suggesting to them that making this change would prove to have positive results from a user experience (and Google revenue) standpoint.
  • Right side ads only accounted for 14.6% of paid clicks anyway, according to this article from Search Engine Watch.
  • It has been about 5 weeks since the change was made – while there have been several studies done (with updates), we still don’t know anything conclusive.

 

If you recall, we made some predictions on what we thought would happen.  While I don’t think we can draw any conclusions, I can say that the changes may not be as dramatic as initially thought.  There is also no denying that there is now a greater supply of clicks available to first page advertisers.  A greater supply of clicks may lead to an overall decrease in price… or maybe not, depending on the data gathering and methodology used for the study.

Based on a study by Acquisio across 90,000 campaigns,  here are how our initial predictions are looking:

  • The top 4 positions will see a 20-25% increase in traffic (clicks)
    • Clicks increased by 4%
  • CPCs will rise significantly due to the limited visibility for ads
    • 10.5% increase in CPC
  • As a result of CPCs, it’s going to be hard for those with smaller budgets to compete, meaning they will have to work harder to identify where there customers are and target them using more cost-efficient methods
    • This is not really measurable, at least not easily – more of an overall trend
  • Organic traffic will decrease on highly competitive terms due to results being pushed further down the page
    • The referenced study does not address this, although most reports is that organic traffic remains unchanged (we are seeing the same volume of traffic from our clients from organic results)

There are studies that somewhat contradict each other on what the effect has been – much of the differences likely come from a difference their approach in data gathering and methodology.  It will likely take a few months before things really shake out.  The most interesting item to watch is CPC and whether or not it stays steady or increases.

So, overall, the Adwords marketplace has less impressions available.  As a result, the supply of clicks per advertiser and CTRs have increased.  CPC is steady or slightly up, depending on what article you read.

This is worth keeping tabs on, but for the advertisers that can’t afford a first page position, taking a smart approach to retargeting and content strategy will be necessary to recoup some of that lost traffic…  but that’s a whole other post.  :)