A fundamental change: Google deletes AdWords ad column on right-hand side of search results pages

23 Feb 2016 / by Lars Neumann and Marcel Sprecher / Comments

Google has stirred up the marketing world with a fundamental change to its search results pages for desktops: AdWords ad units on the right-hand side of search result pages will disappear – the new layout will display up to four ads above the organic search results. This means space for a maximum of six to seven ads, instead of the current 11. This change will be of interest to marketing managers and CMOs – find out why.



Fundamental change: New 3 to 4 Ads on SERPs.

Google continues consistently to improve user experience. By eliminating the AdWords ad column on the right-hand side of the search results pages (SERPs), SERPs will share a similar layout regardless of screen size. Naturally, there are consequences for advertisers.

Increased competitive pressure

As only six to seven ad spaces are available for text ads, this will increase competitive pressure and click prices in Google ad auctions for certain searches. This means an intensified struggle for visibility on Google, not only for the paid search results. Moreover, search engine optimization (SEO) could be affected if the space above the fold in SERP layouts with four ads above the organic search results becomes more limited.

What the freed-up space on the right side will be used for is still unclear and as to date there is no official statement from Google. However, it is very likely that this area will contain Google curated content, such as Google Shopping, Hotel Ads, Google Play (music, apps, books) or the Knowledge Graph, which contains, for example, data on people or events. This will also continue to increase the significance of neatly structured data feeds, on which the results on the right-hand side of search result pages are based.

So what difference does this all make?

Google is making every effort to provide users with relevant information quickly and easily, no matter what screen size. Advertisers need to keep up with these changes and analyze how their services can make the most of these new conditions. One thing remains unchanged: effective targeting, high ad quality and smart budgeting will gain even more importance against this backdrop; at the same time, other platforms such as Microsoft’s Bing or social media may become more crucial as sources of paid traffic.