A few days ago, Google announced the most radical change to AdWords in the last 10 years.
They have removed the ads from the right side of the search results. Now, there are just 4 ads at the top of the page and 3 or 4 more at the bottom (below the organic search results).
Most AdWords professionals have been surprised by this move and are still absorbing the implications. It’s going to make AdWords more competitive and will probably increase the cost per click for those who are determined to get their ads in the top 4 spots.
With the right side ads, if you weren’t willing to pay exorbitant amounts to get on top, you could bid less and have your ads less prominent – but you would still get clicks and sales for a lower advertising cost.
Now, it’s going to be dog eat dog in competitive markets. Great news for Google. Not so good for advertisers who are not razor sharp with AdWords.
Already, inside information from Google shows more than 80% of AdWords accounts are losing money (i.e. advertisers are paying more to Google for clicks than they are making back in bottom line profit as a result of their ads).
Now, it’s going to be even tougher for ordinary advertisers to make money from AdWords. (Even with the friendly Google rep phoning to offer advice on how to “improve” their campaigns. Really, these Google reps are just trying to get you to spend more. That’s their job.)
Another consequence of Google now having 4 ads at the top of the search results, is that it pushes the organic (free) listings further down the page. Google is making the ads look more and more like organic listings anyway. Further reinforcing the need to buy paid advertising to ensure you stay near the top of Google.
A second change – for AdWords geeks
Google has also announced a new feature called ‘Drafts and Experiments’. This is a revised version of the current ‘Campaign Experiments’. It allows you to test the effect of raising bids on certain keywords, on just a small proportion of your traffic – so you can see the results rather than risking your entire campaign.
Campaign Experiments sounded great in principle but hardly anybody actually used them because (like a lot things Google does) they were designed by geeks, for geeks – and difficult to figure out.
Drafts and Experiments will be different. You will be able to make changes and save them as a draft (they won’t actually show live) so you can see how the changes would have performed IF they had been live.
Google will then tell you whether your draft is performing better or worse than your live campaign. Unless you have very low levels of traffic I can’t think of a reason why you would not use this. If you’re an AdWords geek, you can read more about Drafts and Experiments here.