The AdWords Apocalypse & What Didn’t Actually Happen

About a month ago, Google shook up the AdWords community with the death of the right sidebar ad space for desktop search results.The change resulted in Google showing four text ads (instead of three) in the main ad space area above the organic listings, and the addition of three text ads at the bottom of the search results page. The move decreased the number of ads on any given search from as many as 11, to a maximum of 7. And advertisers everywhere, especially small businesses, thought the sky was falling.


Fast forward about a month, and we’re beginning to see the affects of the shakeup, and what did, and didn’t actually happen. Though it certainly was the largest AdWords update in more than 10 years, the data so far is showing much less sky falling, and much more business as usual.

We all thought the inevitable – that CPC costs were going to skyrocket. Some were even predicting a 2-3x increase, which had everyone a bit panicked. Low and behold, CPCs haven’t skyrocketed. In fact, they’ve barely even moved. Heck, in some reports, businesses’ CPCs have even decreased. All part of Google’s balanced and well-crafted plan.

Unlike CPCs, the data shows that impressions were affected by the Google change, which isn’t so surprising. Since the changed decreased the number of ads on any given search from as many as 11, to a maximum of 7, we can expect a decline in ad impressions. The loss of desktop impression share mostly affected those who appeared in in the 8th ad position, or lower. While this may seem problematic, bear in mind that before the change, positions 8-11 made up for less than 1% of all desktop ad impressions.

Each Google update results winners and losers but, in this case, there weren’t many losses to be had. The wins, however – higher CTRs, steady traffic, higher average positions – are pretty significant, considering the magnitude of the change and the panic that originally ensued. It’s also important to keep in mind that the change was exclusive to desktop, making it more evident that Google is shifting their focus away from desktop and toward mobile.

We’re looking forward to more updates with Google as 2016 progresses. Namely, the AdWords interface redesign that Google announced on Monday! Click here for more details on that.

How is your AdWords campaign faring since the update? Unsure if you’ve been affected or not? You’re in good hands, my friend. Sign up for your free assessment today, and we’ll help you find areas of opportunity in your AdWords campaign and overall marketing. 

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