Skip to Content

The author

James Holding

Head of Analytics

I have read a very recent blog about Google beginning to test displaying click counts in PPC adverts for specific advertisers. Implementation of such a technique would likely cause changes to new users and advertisers alike. (Screenshot taken from Search Engine Land. The rest of the post here for screenshots

As A Google User

From a user’s perspective, this may provide an interesting new way to differentiate PPC adverts, ignoring salesey (not a word I know) messaging and following the crowd in a sheep like manor.

Good or Bad For Advertisers?

Depending upon the advertiser, this addition could prove to be good or bad. An advertiser sitting on the side, with a high number displayed for “clicks for this advertiser” is likely to receive a disproportionate amount of clicks than they would have done without this messaging. Psychologically people like to follow the crowd, feeling safer with group decisions, which has the potential to harm new advertisers. Consider a new advertiser with a well written, relevant advert to a new search term that are new to bidding on that term. The new advertiser may have to pay more initially until they have received a reasonable volume of clicks to compete with the rest of the adverts with high click counts. Larger companies with larger budgets are more likely to have a higher click count and may see a greater benefit from this system. In reality, once an advertiser reaches enough clicks for users to feel secure, it could be that the impact of the actual numbers rapidly diminishes. I know when comparing seller ratings on eBay that I still trust 10,000 rating users as much as the 100,000, and assume that it is more likely the 10,000 rating users are just much newer or sell less frequently. It’s the users with the very low number ratings that are more of a gamble. Most importantly it is not clear yet how the numbers are derived or even what conditions have to be met to display these numbers. If they are displayed in a restrictive manor then the overall impact could be minimal. A good point was made on Search Engine Land: it could be possible to estimate competitors spend and traffic levels depending on what the figures represented, which many advertisers will not like. This could prove an important factor if ever sees a mass role out, and will be one to keep an eye out for further developments. Does anyone have any further thoughts on this? Feel free to leave your comments!