Quick Thoughts On AdWords Removing Side Ads

This is too long for a series of tweets, so I’m doing a quick post. Lots of chatter about Google displaying only ads at the top and bottom of pages with none in the traditional right sidebar position today. Example of what I see (logged in to Google for this search):

No Side Ads

There has been no official word from AdWords about this change – whether it is a large test or if it is the new normal. I think it probably is the new normal, even though at first glance it seems to defy logic. Why would they want to lose those side ad positions in favor of ads at the bottom of the page that will most likely be viewed or clicked a lot less?

Here is my guess as to what Google’s answer will be if this is a permanent change:

At Google we are always trying to improve the search experience. In recent years as growth and use of mobile devices has continued at a rapid rate we realize that living in a largely “mobile first” world, people’s expectations of what search can be, how it looks and how it functions are changing. To create a more unified search experience across all devices for our users, we have made this change to the desktop search results.

Note that this is not in any way a statement from Google, but merely my speculation as to what might happen!

How we use search is a learned behavior. We have been conditioned up until this point to expect to see ads at the top of the page and down the side on computers and to not see this on other devices. I think this move is designed to train us to look at the top of the page mainly and if we make it all the way down the page without finding a suitable option, at the bottom as well.

Can’t wait to see what happens! Love to hear your thoughts or theories too – share in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@NeptuneMoon).

UPDATE: The SEM Post is reporting that this is a full scale change.

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