Last week Annie wrote about how we’ve said ‘goodbye’ to Google’s right hand side ads and asked if we should be concerned.

As Head of Biddable Media here at Browser Media I was initially very concerned about the change and still worry that it can only force click costs to inflate, as advertisers compete for the reduced real estate above the fold of page one in the search results. This lead me to do some research within our client accounts to see if there has yet to be an impact.

What has happened in the first 10 days?

The change went live on 19th February, so comparing data before and after this date reveals some interesting stats.

I exported the data from 19/02/2016 – 28/02/2016 and compared it to the period previous, 09/02/2016 – 18/02/2016. Looking at just the UK B2C accounts in our MCC; 10 days after the huge change in the SERPs, we asked:

Have advertisers seen a change in average positions?

Overall the average position for the accounts included in the research decreased by 2.21% and 53% of those accounts saw decreases in average position.

This shows that there has hardly been any movement in positions for the accounts we looked at, roughly half saw increases and half saw decreases, so no, we have not seen any big changes in average positions. (Please note that the overall average position of the accounts included was 1.3.)

How has the change impacted CTRs?

Overall the average click through rate (CTR) for the accounts we looked into rose by 12.27% and 73% of those accounts saw increases in CTR.

This shows that at this early stage the change has made a positive difference to CTRs and mirrors what other advertisers have experienced. (However again, please note that the overall average position of the accounts we looked at was 1.3, this may be very different for ads that appear below position 4.)

This is the big question – have CPCs been affected?

Overall the average cost-per-click (CPC) for the accounts we investigated actually decreased by a tiny 1.35% and 53% of those accounts saw decreases in CPC. This shows that, so far, CPCs have remained static for the top spots. There was pretty much a 50/50 split between clients seeing an increase or a decrease in click costs.

adwords removal of right hand ads

So, how has the removal of the right hand side ads affected Google PPC advertising?

Ten days after the change on 19th February, things are looking good for the ads in the top positions – click costs and average positions have remained stable and now that there are less ads above the fold, CTRs have increased.

BUT, how is this going to change as the people below positions 3 and 4 realise that their CTRs have probably gone down and their traffic levels have dropped? Are they going to react by increasing their bids and therefore making it more expensive to get those top spots?

We’ll run the same tests again in a month’s time and let you know. Stay tuned.