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Changes to Google AdWords: less ads and the impact on your PPC campaign

Looking for the latest scoop on the changes made on Google Adwords platform? Look no further! Google confirmed on February 19, 2016 that AdWords ads would not appear on the right column of the search results on computers. This change is obviously important for online advertising as this could have a major impact on managing your AdWords campaigns.

Serious analysis should be made in the coming months to verify the real impact of this new organization of AdWords ads. But before you can analyze it all, we offer an explanation for this change in paid search ads to be the first in a long series of developments to come on the Google Adwords platform. Indeed, some Internet users are seeing the yellow labels announcing advertisements appearing in green.

However, back to the number of ads on Google:

Major changes for the AdWords advertisements

moins-annonces-google-1The changes confirmed by Google concern search results appearing on computers. These updates involved removing all AdWords text ads as they normally appear on the right column of computers search results.

Instead, four text ads now appear at the top of results pages and three ads appear at the bottom of the search results, just below the waterline.

However, please note that advertisements for a product offering (Google Shopping) and the Knowledge Panel (information on a business card) continue to appear on the right column of the search results.

Thus, the total maximum number of text ads that can appear on a search results page is reduced from 11 to 7.

A well thought-out change

This change may seem sudden, but Google has begun testing this reorganization in 2010 and the most important tests were carried out last December.

The results page for computer searches has been reorganized in the same way as for mobile devises. Indeed, when a search is performed on smart phones, no right column appears. So maybe this is a way for Google to try to standardize the displays on all devices?

What will be the impact of the change on my PPC campaigns?

A lower number of AdWords ads appearing on a search results page can have a significant impact on PPC campaigns. Indeed, the ads were more likely to appear on the front page as the right column could hold up to eight ads.

Some experts in PPC report that as the number of ‘first positions’ has increased, the CPC may decline. But other experts do not agree and think that this will only increase the CPC. The change has been put into effect for almost two months now, and we have noticed that the CPC rate has increased in order to position your ad in the top 3 competitive requests, but has remained stable for the medium and low competitive queries.

For companies wishing to gain more exposure, this could have an impact on their impression rates. And for any business wanting to acquire a certain number of clicks, this change may pose a problem. You will need to look at combining a SEO strategy in addition to online advertising strategy to reduce advertising investments while aiming for a long-term solution with a SEO strategy.

Machine learning

Acquisio analyzed data from 90,000 PPC campaigns from January 21st, 2016 to March 3rd, 2016 and noticed that the number of impressions and clicks below the top 4 has declined while the cost per click has increased.

If you noticed an increase in your CPC during this major change, our advice should help you lower the cost per click of your campaigns.

Continue to optimize ads

Optimize your ads and AdWords campaign is thus required. This can be done by following our tips for managing an AdWords campaign; because the better your campaign is organized, the better the positioning of your ads will be.

moins-annonces-google-2It has been noticed on Google AdWords ads that ad extensions are still present. It is thus essential that all extensions are configured on your PPC campaigns to ensure that your ads are as detailed as possible.

To ensure that your AdWords ads are not affected by these changes, we recommend that you check the following two things:

  • CPC: it is essential to follow the cost per click on each of your campaigns given the fact that one of the risks of these changes is a rise in the CPC;
  • Average position: with 7 ad spots instead of 11 on Google, particular attention should be given to the average ad

If an increase in CPC and a decrease in the average position of your AdWords ads are noticed, here are three tips to optimize your campaign:

  1. Auction: check that your auctions will not prevent your ads from being positioned on the front page of Google, and adjust as necessary.
  2. Search Terms: make sure that your keywords contain the search terms by users. If these terms are relevant, it is essential to add them to your keyword list in order to lower your CPC. In the case that these terms are irrelevant, you have to exclude these keywords.
  3. AdWords remarketing lists: using remarketing lists for search network ads to increase your bid automatically, when a former visitor to your site searches again for one of your products or services. This feature is interesting so that former visitors remember you by seeing your ads again in the top positions on Google.

Finally, if these changes worry you, please contact us. My Little Big Web will arrange to audit and/or to optimize of your PPC campaign to ensure the presence of your ads on the first page of Google.


Cofondatrice et Spécialiste SEO-SEM

Eugénie a commencé sa carrière en marketing Web chez Microsoft auprès de partenaires tels que Hewlett-Packard et Dell. En 2013, elle co-fonde My Little Big Web avec Maxence afin d'aider les PME à optimiser leur marketing Web. Ses compétences en SEO, publicité en ligne et expérience utilisateur permettent aux clients de My Little Big Web de se positionner rapidement et durablement en haut des résultats de recherche. Le partage de connaissances fait partie de ses priorités. Elle donne donc de nombreuses formations internes et externes ainsi que des conférences sur de multiples thèmes relatifs au marketing numérique.