PPC changes

no more right hand PPC adverts

You’ve probably heard that Google is removing its right hand PPC adverts, but what does this mean for people using PPC?

What’s going to change?

In a nutshell, Google will no longer be displaying paid ads at the right hand side on desktop computers. Instead, they’ll now show 4 adverts at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) instead of 3. They’ll also be showing a maximum of 3 adverts at the bottom of the results page

Of course, there’s an exception to prove the rule; product-listing ads (shopping ads) will still appear on the right hand side of your desktop screen. This update will only affect desktop users, as mobile screens didn’t show right-hand side ads anyway.

In their official statement regarding the changes, Google said “We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

What are the implications?

As with any substantial change, there’s going to be pros and cons. Advertisers will now be competing for 7 paid text advert positions instead of 11 positions, so it’s going to get a little more competitive out there. Here’s a breakdown of what it means for PPC users:

  • Organic results will get pushed down further
  • Less slots to bid on
  • More competition for fewer slots
  • As a result, cost-per-click (CPC) will increase
  • Click-through-rates (CTR) should increase, since right hand side adverts’ CTR were often lower
  • This will reduce wasted impressions on the right hand side
  • Impressions will be reduced as there are fewer slots to show your adverts
  • Conversion rates should be higher as the quality of ads will need to improved
How will this affect a business with a small budget?

Essentially, small businesses will need to act smarter as cost-per-click will be higher. It’s worth ensuring that campaigns are refined so that you’re not wasting your budget on keywords that simply aren’t converting.

It might be worth reconsidering your strategy. These days, businesses often have more options than they realise in terms of advertising. For example, Facebook advertising or SEO could be a better option for you. Furthermore, if you have an eCommerce business, Google shopping ads will have more space available for your ads. Whatever type of business you have, it’s worth speaking to a specialist in order to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

What does this mean for brands with a highly competitive market?

We’ll see a shift in the market with brand campaigns becoming increasingly more important due to organic results being pushed so far down. If you don’t want to lose any of your branded traffic then you might want to invest in branded PPC campaigns. It’s worth noting that highly competitive key phrases could suffer, as natural rankings will be pushed down. Therefore, we suggest that it might be worth spending more money on PPC campaigns containing those phrases.


If you’re struggling to get your head around what these changes mean, get in touch with us to discuss your options. Whether you decide to continue with PPC or try a new advertising strategy, we can help.

Categories: Digital Marketing

Feel free to get in touch

Top