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Three paid ads appearing in mobile search results.

The author

Sam Manning

Marketing Analyst

Instead of two ads appearing first for mobile searches, users will now see three for some search queries. As Google confirms the news, we discuss what the implications could be for both paid and organic results.

Google is constantly changing the way mobile ads appear to improve the search results. The amount of information varies depending on what Google deems relevant to the search query, so three ads will only appear for certain queries. Whilst the real estate space of showing three ads won’t differ significantly to previously showing two, there will be clear implications for advertisers.


Russell Anson, PPC Manager, Epiphany discusses what this means for advertisers:

“With impression volume increasing, for advertisers using mobile search ads the first question has to be, how will this impact on cost per clicks (CPCs)? With this new third position potentially enabling advertisers to gain clicks at lower CPCs than were required in the top two positions, moving forward, this may put downward pressure on mobile text ad CPCs.”

“Secondly, showing three ads may reduce the chances of Product Listing Ads (PLAs) being shown. If three ads start taking priority over the PLA carousel, PLA impressions could become limited on mobile devices.”

“Advertiser should take advantage of the opportunity to appear in the first three visible results at a potentially lower CPC. Adverts that use the wealth of extensions available such as extended headline, callout and locations can help improve their click-through rates and ultimately the value of their mobile clicks.”


Anthony Kenny, Head of SEO Strategy at Epiphany is monitoring the effects on organic SERPs:

“Although it appears that organic results will not be pushed any further below the fold I expect this to have implications for organic click share, particularly as paid advertisers are able to enhance the way listings are presented. Mobile ads already achieve higher click-through rates to the detriment of organic listings for a lot of sectors and this update seem set to compound that.”

“It's also another in a long and growing list of changes that increase the competition for head-based terms and give further justification for focusing on producing great content that answers a user's query over chasing vanity terms. That said, tweaking meta descriptions, title tags, and adding structured mark-up can help reduce the problem of low click-through rates. As a side note, looking at click-through rate data in Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) can help you to identify if there are indeed drops in clicks (provided avg. positions remain consistent) and show where adjustments are needed.”


Whilst this update clearly favours advertisers, having a presence across both paid and organic search is still crucial for brands wanting to stand out in the search engine result pages.

If you would like to find out more about mobile search strategy, feel free to get in touch.