How does Google’s removal of right hand side ads impact search marketing?
Google announced earlier this year the removal of search ads on the right hand side (see picture above). Users will only now see ads on the top and bottom of the search results. Will the customer experience on Google be enhanced? What does that mean for search marketers?
A better search experience
By removing ads from the right hand side, Google say search results should be more relevant for users, with less unrelated search results, as it has been the case in the past. Remember those “looking for a baby” eBay ads?
Implications for marketers & businesses
More innovative: “Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” Winston Churchill. Search marketers know Top positions don’t always go to the highest bidder but it’s also a question of quality of ad text, landing pages and keyword relevancy. Search marketers will have to be more creative, INNOVATE more and offer a greater customer experience. In reality, It means run more tests being tuned to search experience by trying different messaging in ad texts, keywords match type, A/B tests, time parting, geo targeting, search retargeting, so on so fourth.
More technology: Search marketing competition has never been stronger. For advertiser the need for a powerful digital marketing solution is not questionable anymore. Not only do search marketers need a classic bid management tool, but they also need to plug in their campaigns into a greater marketing cloud platform that is able to optimise paid and organic media activities, across all devices, online and offline (search, display, email, social, etc).
A greater vision: Lastly, search marketers need to think outside the box. Too often search marketers work in their ivory tower, optimising media spend but forgetting the business context, not aligning with other channels from a messaging and budget stand point. Classic examples are those advertisers bidding on brand keywords and targeting existing customers, but still showcasing an impressive ROI to their clients! Few businesses know it but paid search is one of the most powerful channels to acquire new customers and grow the business. This means bidding on non-brand keywords or placements on Google Shopping, especially for retailers.
What’s next from Google?
Expansion of Google Shopping for retailers: For non-brand keywords, Google Shopping now represents 60% of all search clicks and CTR of +90% vs text ads (source Merkle RKG).
Expansion of text ads: We can expect Google to increase the size and visibility of text ads. So I think we can expect more ad extension and longer ad text (already in beta) in the next coming month.
Advanced Search Retargeting: In recent years now, marketers are able to retarget website visitors. Efficiency has improved thanks to a greater technology support such as audience management solutions and better best practices across the board. And with Customer Match, advertisers can now retarget customers/prospect based on their Gmail address on Google Search, Gmail (GSP), Youtube or Mobile/Android. Even though there are some legal aspects to be considered, especially in Europe, It is a very interesting feature to watch.
Voice Search: This is exciting news for some retailers. Using their mobile or even in their car, users will soon be able to purchase by simply speaking to their device. As more people adopt this way of searching, Search Marketing future will be even brighter.