Google has been testing out a new format for its PPC ads. We are all used to seeing the ads appear right at the top of the page on top of a mustard yellow background and continue down the right hand side of the results page.
Well they’ve been testing out a new format, which actually we’ve already been seeing for a while now on mobile devices, will it have an impact?
We know that the ‘search’ companies have been urged to make the distinction between organic results and paid results greater, as a lot of users still don’t know that the results at the top of the page are adverts. After all, it can be quite difficult to see the pale yellow background on some screens so a lot of users click on them unaware that they have been paid for.
Check out the difference between the two images portraying the old format and new test format, the top is the historic adverts (which many of us are still seeing on our desktop) the second image is the test format that Google is running right now.
As you can see in the new format the adverts are being made more visible with a bright yellow tag, rather than having a different coloured background, so we think it does make the adverts stand out a bit more. (you can see this for yourself if you log on to your mobile device, most of you won’t see it on your desktop)
We think that Google are doing this to make desktop browsing and mobile browsing a more consistent experience, but of course peoples behaviour does change depending on what device they are using and the intent behind the search.
Of course we could be cynical and think that the giant is also trying to blend organic and paid results, after all with all the other clutter that can be found with organic searches (review stars / author images etc) will users really spot the difference between paid and organic if the PPC results happen to appear not just at the top of the page but more blended across the whole page?
Google will continue testing before we see a mass roll out of this development, they won’t want their advertisers to be affected by lower click through rates so they will get it right before they change the format.
An interesting development, we’d be interested to hear if you think the new format makes the ads more visible, let us have your comments below.