It’s been less than a month since Google announced right-column ads would be dropped in desktop searches, but we’re already starting to see the effects. The initial response from marketers wasn’t exactly positive. Predictions mostly anticipated increased CPCs, which would make AdWords more expensive for everyone.

We said at the time that, even though CPCs would likely increase at some point, higher click-through rates could also come as part of the package. Early signs suggest this is the case too, but what does this means for the overall impact of Google’s changes?


CTRs are up without right column ads

Even though our first thought after we heard the news was that cost-per-clicks (CPCs) would increase, we soon saw the potential for higher click-through rates (CTRs). And so far we’ve seen an 11.3% increase on average CTRs across the accounts we manage. That adds up to a better average CTR for nearly 70% of our clients, which counts as an early win in our books.


We’ve seen an 11.3% increase on average CTRs across the accounts we manage


The downside to this would be a small drop in ad position for clients – an average of 1.8%. That doesn’t sound particularly great, but ad position is a complex topic and a drop doesn’t always lead to negative results.

What’s really interesting on these two figures is we’ve seen a drop in CTRs for the third ads showing above results when four ads display. This comes as no surprise, though, because it makes sense that the final ad above organic results gets more attention and we anticipated those third ads getting skimmed over when sitting above a fourth ad. So bear this in mind with your bidding and position strategy.


CPCs already on the rise

Higher CTRs certainly sound good off the bat, but it’s that risk of higher CPCs that had advertisers grumbling about this latest change. Unfortunately we’re already seeing an increase in CPCs across the accounts we manage and higher CTRs on top of that will only increase your ad spend further.

The truth is we can only see CPCs rising more over the coming months, which is precisely what advertisers don’t want to be hearing. (Un)surprisingly, Google reps are telling us that average CPCs haven’t really changed and that all is rosy in PPC world. Cheers for the insights fellas.

Then again, the doomsday talk that comes along with any major Google change is exaggerated to say the least. So instead of sounding the alarm, we’ll be back very soon with a look at how you can tweak your accounts to turn the latest AdWords redesign into a win.


In the meantime, give us a call or reach out to us on social if you’re worried about those early CPC increases or you have any info to share with us.