The New SERP - What Effect Has It Had So Far?

11 March 2016

It has been two weeks since Google completed the roll out of its new format for desktop queries. What have our PPC team noticed so far.

It has been two weeks since Google completed the roll out of its new format for desktop queries which no longer displays ads to the right hand side of its search results. Ads now only appear at the top and/or bottom of the search engine results page with the exception of Product Listing Ads (PLA) and Knowledge Panels. As well as this, Google now displays four ads above the search results compared to the previous three. The aim of this change is to enhance user experience with cross-device consistency - the majority of searches now happen on mobile devices which have no right hand ads.

The PPC world went into disarray when the initial announcement was made with speculation as to how it would affect PPC advertisers. Our PPC Account Managers have been monitoring our clients' accounts very closely to analyse how, if at all, they have been affected. We checked in with each of them to find out exactly what they have noticed so far.


I initially thought the transition could raise CPCs but so far this doesn't appear to be the case.  I think adding in the 4th spot has lessened the impact overall as it ensures Paid Search dominates above the fold.'


So far I haven't noticed much of a difference - KPIs have remained largely the same apart from some minor fluctuations. I'd say it's too soon to accurately measure the impact but I believe Paid Search may actually benefit from this change with SEO being the biggest loser now that the 4th advertising spot will push down organic results. I don't think too many people outside of the PPC industry will notice the change and may actually click the 4th spot assuming it is the first organic search.'


As with everyone else - I'm yet to notice anything significant in terms of CPCs and competition. I actually like the change as it ensures cross-device consistency. It will be interesting to monitor the change in the upcoming months to see what happens!'


Largely, we have noticed very little, if any, significant change to any of our accounts since the changes rolled out. However, it is early days and we intend to continue monitoring our reports; maintain a close eye on our bids/budgets; refine our targeting as necessary and keep our focus on creating great, high quality ads!

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