Early data from AccuraCast released this week confirms higher click-through rates on paid-search advertising for nearly all positions after Google eliminated text ads from serving up on the right side of the search results page.
Google stopped serving paid-search text ads down the right rail of its search query results page in late February. A fourth paid-search ad now serves up at the last position at the top of the page.
Following the shift, the CTR for the No. 1 position paid-search ad jumped 8.4% to 4.20%. The CTR for the No. 2 position ad jumped 7.7% to 1.24%. The No. 3 position fell 5.6% to 2.04%, and the No. 4 spot -- which did not exist previously -- jumped 18.2% to 0.81%, according to AccuraCast.
The data for AccuraCast's analysis came from a two-week period, analyzing more than 500,000 individual searches for a range of industries.
Product listing ads are included in the research, but the agency has not looked into how the move influences product listing ads (PLAs) specifically. Marketers will likely see that down the road a bit, explains Luke Rees, digital marketing lead at U.K.-based AccuraCast. The data also does not indicate an increase in conversions from the uptick in clicks. That's great news for Google, but without the conversion it doesn't do much for sales at brands other than branding for future sales.
Overall, CTR for all ad positions on the first page fell from 1.86% to 1.80% while impressions have remained equal -- around 500,000, according to AccuraCast's data. Outside of position 4, the total of CTRs rose. What once fell into positions five through 10 rose from 2.22% to 2.46%.
Positions five and six fell compared with historic percentages, while the ad in position seven rose.
Rees says the numbers are likely to fluctuate in the coming weeks as the agency sees broader samples of data and as people become more familiar with the new layout. Once the agency starts to get a bigger sample of data, it plans to dig further into product listing ads, as well as differences on desktop and mobile.