Google Adds More Ads to Mobile SERPs

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Google-HQOne of the benefits of a Pay Per Click advertising platform is that it’s in the platform’s best interest to do everything to make ads effective, since they need clicks in order to get paid. This is why Google and other online advertising platforms regularly modify their ad layouts and designs to see what increases clicks. Following some initial tests, Google has started adding more ads to certain mobile queries.

Specifically, Google has started placing three ads in mobile search engine result pages on some queries. The ads are mostly text based ads, and don’t feature things like images or maps, though they may contain a click-to-call button.

The effect on organic results is negligible. Though there is one more ad on mobile SERP than there was before, the ads are formated in a way that takes up about just as much space as there was when there were just two.

Previous mobile layouts would include a sponsored product carousel of images. The third text-based ad spot takes the place of those products. Either way, users will have to scroll past the ads to see the organic results in most cases (though larger phones may have more screen real estate to work with).

The new layout can be useful for Google and for the advertiser who gets placed in the new spot. If the Click Through Rate for the carousel ads was low and adding a third ad increases the total number of ad clicks on each mobile SERP, then making this adjustment is a winning move for Google. Similarly, the advertiser in the new spot is someone that would have been relegated to the carousel in the past, so be featured on the page should get them more clicks.

Google recently confirmed these changes that were noticed in the wild in an response to Search Engine Land. Their response indicates that the new format won’t be used for all ads and many will get the carousel and two ads.

“We regularly adjust the way we present ads, and for a small portion of mobile queries we may expand the space for ads if they are particularly relevant,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land via email, last Thursday.

The Google statement seems to indicate that new format will only be used in special situations where expanding the ads by removing the carousel makes sense. It’s unclear how that will be determined, so for now, users and marketers will have to search and see for themselves.

“Paid search data from the past few weeks seems to back up claims that Google is rolling out three text ads for searches on phones where there used to only be two. This should result in a greater share of paid search traffic coming from phones, especially in light of the fact that fewer ads are showing on desktop,” wrote columnist Andy Taylor in a post discussing data related to Google’s recent change. “However, sites will also likely see less organic traffic as a result of the third ad taking up additional real estate on the page.”

For more data about recent changes to Google search results and ads, read this article on Google’s new bidding options for PPC ads.

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