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The challenging nature of Google's PPC Innovations

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Steve Baker

Chief Analyst

Recently Google have trialled placing PPC ads below the organic search results rather than at the top of the page. This has had little impact in terms of non-brand keywords, but brand ads have suffered in terms of positioning.

We have seen in many sectors a small drop in brand CTR’s due to this test. Generally, brand clicks from PPC are cheaper and convert at a higher rate with a lower cost per acquisition. By trialling this, Google have directly affected the traffic brands can generate from PPC. This traffic is being lost to organic, but the problem here for brands is if the top 5 organic results include more than their own listing, they could be losing traffic to competitors. Additionally, we have seen that the Google email ad extensions have also affected brand ads CTR. When activating the email ad extensions on brand ads, Google auto removes 2 of the sitelinks that these ads previously had. This can negatively affect the CTR on these ads as there are 2 less opportunities to gain a click. Some of Google’s innovations are excellent in improving CTR’s and the user experience. The product listing ad extensions and the review ratings have really helped CTR’s improve, and helped differentiate one brands ads from another. The advice here is to ensure you are testing the effects of these new innovations from Google regularly. For example, although the email ad extensions may drive down CTR’s slightly from your brand ads, how many email addresses do you capture from this? And out of those email addresses, when campaigns are sent to those addresses, how many convert and at what cost? The recent innovations from Google are aimed at integrating PPC into the wider digital marketing mix and enhancing the customer experience using their service. Ultimately it throws its own challenges to search agencies in creating the right sort of strategy to maximise results for clients, but one agencies should embrace and not shy away from.