Following our last blog on this, we've had lots more questions from you guys about the impact the removal of Google's right-hand sidebar ad space in SERPs will have on your PPC strategy. So, we thought we'd get you a response straight from the horse's mouth. Here's what our friends at Google had to say.
We've all read the blogs and listened to search marketing experts opinion on the matter, but nothing quite compares to going to the source. We asked our pals at Google what they thought the impact had been since they implemented this somewhat controversial change.
It's all about usability
Google stands firm that the reason for the decision was primarily usability. Very few people were actually focusing on the right-hand column of the page and the ads here (as illustrated in the heatmap below). So, Google responded to user behaviour, removing the side column and placing a larger focus on the areas that people were naturally looking to - the left-hand column.
Google admits that it's probably too early in the day to say either way on related costs, but they've seen both positive (costs going down) and negative (some terms becoming more competitive and costs going up) results so far. Given that little attention was paid to the right-hand column before it was removed, their argument remains that no one is really losing out as this was, in essence, 'void screen real estate'.
What's more, they've indicated that with paid search ads being just one potential advertising avenue, more focus and budget may well now shift to other options for those who cannot compete for the top of page 1 results any more. This means we'll likely see an increase in budget towards display ads, video marketing and the likes.
So, there you have it. Time will tell how this will impact your longer-term strategy, but Google says "keep calm & carry on PPC-ing".