There have been some major changes across the digital advertising world in the past few weeks.

Bing, for example, has officially launched the Bing Network, replacing Yahoo Bing Network, which will include Xbox, Cortana, Windows 10, MSN (native advertising) and partners like AOL and Gumtree. The inclusion of Xbox and a new set of partners is helping the company to increase market share, demographic and search volumes; and, with lower CPCs, it may finally become an attraction option for advertisers.

However, the biggest changes of note have been to the market’s biggest name, Google. We examine the latest development and what it means for advertisers.

No more right-hand side ads

Over the weekend, Google began to remove all right hand side ads from search results. It’s currently being tested on 50% of traffic globally, before being rolled out in full. Top and bottom ads, which appear at both ends of a results page, will remain.

One more top position

A fourth-top position, as opposed to the traditional three, will now be included for searches returning ‘highly commercial’ results. It’s not clear how ‘highly commercial’ will be defined although, with the closure of Google’s compare services, it’s likely that this will be for search terms around finance, legal and insurance.

How will it affect you?

It’s too early to say what the full impact will be, but low click-through rates for right hand side ads are likely to have driven these changes. Google has stated that it’s been testing these changes for a while now, so it’s clearly something that’s been in the pipeline.

It’s a major move from the search giant; one that, at first, would seem as though it’ll cost them in terms of revenue. But there’s some obvious thinking behind the move, such as how right hand side ads never featured engaging ad extensions, or how many were simply lost below the fold. There’s then the mobile-first approach that’s being taken, which obviously doesn’t merit the use of right hand side ads.

It’s likely that Google will make up the revenue lost from these changes through the addition of the fourth position, which will be able to use ad extensions, calls outs, etc. There’s then the focus being placed on mobile; features such as mobile ad extensions are only going to become more popular and, in turn, profitable for the organisation.

For ecommerce retailers, Google Shopping ads will become a greater priority with organic search positions being pushed lower down the page. As a core part of its business activities, it’s likely that Google will continue to maximise the space reserved for ads such as this.

How will it affect organic search?

The addition of the fourth position is likely to cause concern for those working in the SEO industry, as there’s some real implications in pushing organic results for down a page. With Google reserving the fourth position for ‘highly commercial’ search terms, it could affect those advertising in an extremely competitive market (finance, insurance, example). There’s no telling, however, whether the fourth position will become too lucrative for Google for it to only reserve this space for certain results.


Arsenal Building a global football digital experience
All Work
Programmatic advertising: the future of paid media It's much talked about, but what is programmatic advertising and how will it shape the industry?