3 min.
Disappearance of right-wing Google Adwords ads: the impacts
1L’art de la gestion de projet2Un projet à succès commence par une bonne gouvernance3Cascade, agilité, demandes de changement?

Disappearance of right-wing Google Adwords ads: the impacts

Paid Media & SEM Innovation

Major change in the world of  Search : As of  last Friday (February 19, 2016), Google removed ads that are on the right side  of search results. Ads  have now been replaced with 4 paid search  results at the top and 3 at the bottom.


  • No text ads in the right bar
  • 4 ads instead of 3 at the top of organic results
  • Added 3 ads at the bottom of organic results
  • Ad inventory in results pages (SERPs) drops from 11 to 7 
  • Product Listings  Ads  (PLAs) remain in the upper right corner
    *  note that mobile display is not affected

Here is what it looks like on different devices:





This change will have several impacts in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs):  

  • Reducing the display offer (11 available positions versus 7) should have a significant impact on the bidding process and possibly greatly increase the cost per click (CPC).
  • Going from 3 positions at the top of the page to 4 should also have an impact on SEO (organic traffic), because fewer links will be visible ( above the fold ).

Before making too hasty decisions in the face of this news, it is important to analyze the situation of your account.  Will your account be affected by this major change in the new Search inventory organization ? 

In order to assess this impact, we advise you to carefully analyze your performance campaign by campaign.


  • The current position of your campaign.  If you get positions lower than 3, this change will particularly affect you. You will find strategies below to get out of it.
  • Performance by segment Top Vs. Others.   This type of segment will allow you to evaluate the performance between “I appear in the first” vs. “I appear elsewhere”. If you perform better in the “I Appear Elsewhere” category, you will be particularly affected by this change.


1- Product Listing Ads – in an e-commerce context  

If you have a transactional site, it is strongly recommended to set up a product feed as soon as possible and to set up Product Listing Ads . This type of campaign will be the only one that will keep a display in the right side. 

SPOILER ALERT: Google is currently testing a new format with 16 products at the top of the organic results!

If your site has hundreds of products (or services), you should also consider  Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) , which are renowned for achieving incredible performance!

2- Audience upgrades

 Search audience upgrades  are the biggest loadouts SEM has seen in recent years. We saw this type of targeting appear at the  Remarketing List For Search Ads (RLSA) level  and a few months ago at the  Custom Audiences level , which corresponds to the import of  First Party  data into the platform.

Leveling the audiences will become essential, that is to say that we will not want to bet on all the requests to appear in the top 4, but for the users who interest us ( Programmatic Search?!? ).

Here are some types of audience targeting that are available:

  • Gender (Male or Female)
  • Age
  • household income
  • RLSA (First party data or Remarketing list)

3- Types of targeting –  Target and Bid  and  Bid Only  

A notion that is currently little known and that will become essential in the coming months is the  Target and Bid  and  Bid Only  type RLSA . 

The  Target and Bid targeting type  allows you to target a particular audience with specific keywords. For example, you have an  AdWords campaign  to promote your used cars: you therefore target keywords such as “Used car”, but it is too expensive to appear for each query.

With  Target and Bid , you could only target queries to users who have visited your site before or done business with you.

The Bid Only option   allows us to target all users in our geotargeting in addition to adding an incremental bid for the audience of your choice. So you might be willing to bet $3.5 for the term “Used car” for User X, but if User X has visited your site before, you might be willing to pay more to appear in the top 4. .

In these ways, you will target a much more specific audience, which will increase your conversion rate and target the users who really matter to you.

4- Long tail keywords

In order to keep CPCs relatively low and to reach the first 4 positions, we will have to target long tail keywords. To do this, we recommend tools such as  keyword.io  to evaluate user searches and to bet on these keywords. The time dedicated to analyzing search trends and setting up campaigns will become a must!  No more campaigns set up in less than 10 hours!

5- The type of auction –  Flexible Bid Strategies (FBS)

Few people use this type of automatic bidding, but the situation may be about to change with the removal of ads on the right side. FBS are   automatic auctions that provide an alternative option to the   regular Max CPC mode. For each objective, there is an alternative bidding mode associated with your needs.

Source: support.google.com 

Learn about Google best practices for automated bidding .

In short, it is certain that this new display format will have an impact as much on  Paid Search  as on SEO and no one can predict what will really happen...

Will Search media investments   now have to be invested in SEO? Will CPCs skyrocket? How will the bottom ads, the  PLAs , perform ?

To be continued…