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Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 1
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I've posted recently about my findings from the evolution and disappearance of the right side ads.  We have seen very positive results overall.  CTRs are way up -- Which makes sense right??  There are less choices.  Our CPCs have come down (maybe a trickle down of the CTR and QS improving).  And, conversions/CPAs are up (again less choices).

 

The article below from SEL discusses the same trends.  What are you guys seeing?  Have you audited your campaigns for a before/after?

 

googles-right-side-adpocalypse-really-happened-data

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Re: Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 2
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Hey @Shanee_Kirk,

 

Out of curiosity, at what point in time do you feel comfortable that 100% of impressions were displayed on the new SERP layout.  I know in the early stages of this change, there was some chatter about only signed in users seeing the new layout.  I've been seeking a specific date to do some analysis myself. Were you able to identify one?

 

-Tommy

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Side Ads Shakeout - 30-days after.

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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better-.jpg

 

Today marks 30 days since the abolition of the right side ads. Don't know if they'll come back. Assuming that they don't. So how has it been for you? This writing is inspired by a recent discussion we have had with this community’s experts. Off the top of my head @Shanee_Kirk@Ambir_Jarvis. I have heard a lot of rumble that CPCs will go up now that side ads are gone. Personally, I happen to think that doing away with side ads was really taking away "false hope," despite some changes in ad pricing dynamics this will surely bring. But I am biased. Because as far as I am concerned my client's search text ads on the right rail weren't converting on desktop anywhere near the way they were converting on top ads. And, as a consumer of ads, I personally never click on side ads either.

 

Our agency accounts are showing great performance since the great redesign on the SERPs, no signs of weakening. But those are accounts with a very high average position to begin with. They are also managed accounts. So maybe we've been making up for what's lost in performance by pulling tricks out of our AdWords hats. Indeed, in my book a great AdWords manager is a solution against any market condition, the strong-arming competitors and even can cure some seasonality.

 

Yet, it is an "unmanaged" example that is a good illustration to the side ads space shakeout conclusion I arrived to.

 

So I took a look today (3/24/20116) at an account that spends up to $8 a day, so not more than ~$240 monthly. They rarely manage that account, if at all. That account's performance happens to be an almost pure testing environment for my purposes. It’s been untouched BOTH 30 days prior to the right-rail shakeout, AND 30 days after.There's been no edits on that account since January 23rd 2016. Same ads, same bids, same budget, same everything. No scripts are active at all there. Mobile mid modifier happened to be a negative -15% constant over the course of those 60 days as well. They are a B-to-B provider, and have ensured me that demand usually does not fluctuate much between January 23rd and March 23rd. And that pure testing environment is exhibiting interesting signs of performance change. 

 

This is the case where performance is best understood if segmented by device. DESKTOP ads are the only ones that were subject to this change. Therefore, we need to analyze desktop performance not diluted by whatever happened on mobile devices!

 

In addition I'll have a look at the entire picture, including mobile, I’ll discuss that below.

 

So here it goes, 30-day performance from Feb 23rd to March 23rd of 2016, compared to the prior 30 days, DESKTOP ONLY summarized in the table below (color-coded as follows: green - good change, pale pink - bad change, gray - neutral change):

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 13.07.34.png

 

When performance (conversions) indicators are not available, as is the case for this account, I usually default to the closest approximation of performance: impressions, clicks, CTR, share of search, avg. pos.

 

In this case we see they lost 3.37% in desktop impressions –not good, although not the end of the world. But search impression share is down by 28% - that is much more worrisome! Against expectations of those who believed (including me) that CPCs will increase with more competition for the new layout, average desktop Cost Per Click is down 18.21%. And number of clicks is up! All the while the Click-through-rate is suffering immensely with the 57% drop, to the levels below acceptable minimum.

 

I am concluding that the side-ads shakeout was not beneficial for this advertiser at all. This could be a function of their B-to-B nature, a function of their ads no longer working in the new layout (despite having been written for top position), or a function of other factors I am not aware of. Whether or not change in performance was caused by SERPs layout redesign; or account poor performance comes in focus because of it, I won’t be able to say, as I have not performed the causation vs correlation analysis. But one thing is crispy clear, if I want more clicks for less money that’s exactly what we got here. And if I want decent or even acceptable CTRs as well as to hold on to the previous share of search, this account has suffered immensely in that department since the side-ads departure. Which leads me to believe that their QS has deteriorated since the side ads departure. The change has not been good for them. It is a matter of time before the situation gets worse I am sure.

 

More analysis: acc performance analysis without device segmentation.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 13.56.06.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 14.03.37.png

It looks like the following KPIs are indicating better performance:

- Impressions are up (slightly +0.23%)

- Average position is up (considerably better, from 1.8 to 1.5)

- Search Lost due to Budget is down (considerably better, -40.54%)

- Cost (-33.11%)

 

And these KPIs are indicating decline in performance:

- CTR (considerable decline, -36.51%)

- Number of clicks (considerable decline, -36.36%)

- Search impression share (slight decline, -4.77%)

- Average CPC (moderate increase 5.11%)

- Search share lost due to Rank (moderate decline 13.09%)

 

Unfortunately, they aren't tracking the account-wide impression-weighted average Quality Score. On another hand, they are loosing search impression share due to rank, so it must be their QS that's suffering. Even if I didn't segment by device, I would conclude that this account is in bad health regardless of the reasons. SERPs redesign may be a qualitative change in search dynamics, which resulted in loss in quality score, making the overall performance suffer. Whatever the reason. It has indeed suffered in my opinion.

 


Julia Muller,
AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Side Ads Shakeout - 3-days after.

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# 4
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Well done!  It's very interesting to me to see/read about experiences and data that folks are seeing.

 

I literally just posed this question on another thread as this was being posted. Do you feel 100% confident that on the 23rd, this change was 100% across the board.  Meaning that all impressions from that day forward were displayed on the new SERP layout?  My only hesitation with this date is originally I recall reading that in the first few days (or something like that) only signed in users were seeing the changed SERP layout - or "some" users who were not signed in were still seeing the old layout.  Maybe that was a very limited time frame where that was occurring but I'm still curious as to when exactly the change was 100% implemented.  It's clear that this is 100% at this point for sure.  I'm just trying to nail down exactly when the roll out was complete.

 

Thanks!

 

-Tommy

 

 

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 5
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Hi, Tommy - Glad you replied!! And, glad someone finds this as interesting as I do!! So, for my data, I wasn't 100% sure about that first week. There was a week period where everything was in flux. So, I compared the two weeks prior to that week, and the two weeks after that week (minus the week of transition) to get an idea of what was going on without the "cloudy" data.

You are right. It was fuzzy for the first few days... Even with me signed into Google, I would see the ads sometimes, and not others.

Re: Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 6
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I find your post very interesting @Shanee_Kirk as well. It inspired a look into an unmanaged account I was able to get a look into with that in mind today as well. Now, 30 days after the side ads being gone.

Re: Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 7
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Very interesting... But, you are seeing improvements in your managed accounts?

Re: Side Ads Shakeout - 3-days after.

[ Edited ]
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# 8
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@PPCBossman, you're right, it may have not fully rolled out on the 23rd, I do not have a press release or another100% reliable reliable source for that info.

Personally, I happened to no longer see display side ads past the evening of the 19th. But did derive that some residuals were ironed out between the 19th and by the end of the 22nd from the industry chatter.

Cognizant of ad layout for obvious reasons, I started seeing (logged in) occasional top 4 ads 6 weeks prior to Feb 19th, persistent 4 top ads a week prior to Feb 19th, and then no side ads whatsoever past the evening of the 19th. Yet, in my analysis, I assumed that the change was final by the 23rd. It may require additional analytics to confirm. In any case scenario, if the change happened somewhat later, then jury is till out. Although I have now made changes on that untouched account, and they may affect performance, hopefully for the better Smiley Wink!


Julia Muller,
AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Side Ads Shakeout - 3-days after.

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# 9
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Excellent info here. Thanks for sharing. Performance is obv something I'm always monitoring - when I get a chance to do some additional digging, I'll be sure to share my findings.

Thanks again everyone!

-Tommy
Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Data from "No Right Hand Side" Ads

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# 10
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No major changes in managed accounts @Shanee_Kirk, no improvements or deterioration. All of the accounts are performance-based, with a range of bidding settings from manual to target CPA. Those accounts are optimized daily though. As far as I am concerned this proves that good manager is worth their weight in gold Smiley Wink.

Julia Muller,
AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.