L2T Blog

Changes To Google’s Ad Layout On Desktop Search Results

on February 24, 2016

Google announced on Friday, Feb 19, that it was removing search ads from the right-hand side of their search results page.  As many as four text ads (up from a previous maximum of three) will now display above the organic listings, and three text ads will show at the bottom of the search results page.  The total number of text ads that can appear on a results page will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.  Product listing ad blocks and Knowledge Panels (sometimes with ads, as tests continue in these spaces) will show in the right rail on relevant queries.

Google made this change to optimize the content and layout of the results page, optimize the experience for users and improve advertiser performance. “With this change, we are aligning the number of ads shown on desktop and tablet, which we believe will be beneficial to our users, while our testing suggests no significant user impact,” states Google.

There will certainly be a lot of analysis about what this change means for advertisers — impressions, CPC, CTRs, average position and so on. According to Google, “we are not expecting dramatic CPC increases and will monitor metrics closely.”

Here’s what we at L2TMedia have to say about the change:

  • The majority of our ads for our dealer clients are in positions 1-4 currently. It is rare for ads served by L2TMedia to be in a position lower than 4.
  • This Google change should have no impact on mobile ad positioning.
  • We expect CTRs to increase slightly as there will be fewer desktop options for paid search ads, however, more analysis will need to be done. 
  • As always, we will closely monitor our clients’ CPCs. Initially, there may be a slight increase across the board for desktop clicks as advertisers may “over-adjust” to ensure they are still capturing traffic, but within a few months, this should work itself out as the marketplace adjusts.
  • This could potentially increase organic traffic so the balance between PPC and SEO is going to be more important than ever.  Ensure your dealership ranks high organically, in addition to your paid search campaigns.  
    • Don’t forget the importance of Google My Business. Ensure your GMB page is well optimized and has all correct information.
    • Also encourage your customers to leave positive reviews to increase your star rating.  Google emphasizes businesses with high star ratings in the top organic spots.
    • Ensure that you focus on the appropriate keywords when you’re optimizing your website too for better organic ranking.


As always, we will continue to monitor all of the metrics closely to ensure the most effective campaign results for our clients.  If you have any questions, please contact us.



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Changes To Google’s Ad Layout On Desktop Search Results