There has been a lot of confusion as to what effect the recent modifications to Google Adwords will have on marketers. Many are unsure if the changes in search results will provide the industry with advantages or disadvantages for their productivity and customer engagement.

What exactly has changed?

The major changes are to desktop search results and include the removal of the text ads that previously appeared on the right hand side of the search results page. The right rail will now be completely clear. In addition, four ads, rather than the previous three, will appear above the organic search results. These results will occur when searches are defined as ‘highly commercial’.

What is highly commercial?

‘Highly commercial’ refers to searches that inquire about purchases, travel and shopping etc. Google’s examples of highly commercial queries include ‘hotels in New York City’ or ‘car insurance’. Although, what many may deem as highly commercial may differ from Google’s definition, which says the term is used for searches in which Google see an intent to purchase. When a query is defined as highly commercial, the top 4 results will be shown as ads and will appear above the organic results.


Although the new alterations to Google Search may come as a sudden surprise to many people, the idea to remove the right rail of ads has been simmering for some time. The changes to the desktop search results now correspond with the mobile site, creating a common overall user experience for both desktop and mobile users.

How will it affect marketers?

Before the changes occurred, around 65% of non-brand ad clicks were made on the top ads, 30% on the right side and 5% at the bottom. The new changes are said to increase overall audience reach as well as generate more clicks. With more ads at the top of the page, it is likely that there will be a higher level of interaction with target audiences due to the elimination of the the competition from the right hand side. It seems likely that the organic results will also see an increased reach. The recent changes are said to be a fantastic opportunity for PPC marketers, who will see a large increase in clicks generating a greater ROI. Overall, it seems that marketers need not worry to much about the changes, as they seem to be playing to our advantage!

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