Why did Google Significantly Change the Way that Some Ads will Appear?

Google is in the process of making some pretty significant changes to the way that we will see ads appearing on their search results page.

Announced on February 3, the location of the first description line for certain ads that appear above the search results has changed. For some ads, where each line appears to be a distinct sentence, description line 1 will be moved to the headline. As a result, some top placement ads will have longer headlines.

Before:

New Style:

On January 10, Google announced that the appearance of the display URLs of all ads would be updated. With this change, display URLs will always be shown in lowercase letters- as they appear in organic results.

What was the motivation for Google changing the appearance of these ads?

Google found that the change results in higher click-through rates for ads that are shown with the longer headline, as well as other top ads that appear beside them. They say that it also creates a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad. Google encourages advertisers to increase their changes of having their ads appear in this new format by making the first description line a proper sentence.

With this new format, the results in the ad section hold a much stronger resemblance to the organic results.

In the organic results the URL’s are presented in all lowercase lettering, this practice is now also being used for the URL’s in the paid section. Research found that click through rates were higher and measurability was improved when the appearance of URL’s was consistent throughout the page. If this trend continues to increase the click through rates on the paid results then Google ultimately benefits. Google’s revenue is derived from advertisers paying to appear when searched and by searchers clicking on these results.

It remains to be seen how this proposed increase in click-throughs for the paid results will impact the organic results.

At first glance, the move to redesign the paid section seems straightforward. How this will influence where users click and what section of the results page that they most frequent is ultimately the most important question for marketers.

Sarah Soteroff, PR & Communications Manager

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