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It’s Official! The hubbub from Google & blogs tells us that the Google Ad label will now become Green, rather than the Yellow Ad label we have grown accustomed to. As we know, Google have been testing this since April. However, they have now confirmed that this is no longer a test, and that these green ad labels will be rolling out to all users imminently.


The hubbub…

Search Engine Land

Marketing Land

Seround Table

IABUK

Search Engine Journal


What’s changing?

Here’s a before and after. See if you can spot the difference?

PPC hubbub - Green Ad Label - Before & After

As you can see, the Yellow Ad Label has changed to Green. On Mobile, it looks like this…

PPC hubbub - Green Ad Label - Before & After (Mobile)

Not the biggest change Google have ever made, but could the repercussions be bigger?

 

Why should we care about such a small change?

Even though it’s a small tweek to the ad format, it’s a part of a series of changes that Google have made this year in order to “standardise” the way the SERP looks across all devices (See our previous blog on Google SERP Colour Testing). Removing the right hand side ads, Introducing Expanded Text Ads, and the introduction of the Green Ad Label will all combine to help improve Google’s bottom line through increased performance from Paid Search advertising.

Google have told Search Engine Land that…

“We regularly test ways to improve the look and feel of our search results page. We’ve been experimenting with a green search ad label and have decided to roll it out based on positive feedback from users and advertisers. Our goal is to make our results page easy to use, and our labelling clear and prominent.”

(Source: http://searchengineland.com/official-google-green-ad-label-global-251958)

You’d think that the ad would be easier to miss as it becomes intertwined with the organic listings. However Google also told Search Engine Land that they saw no impact on users being able to distinguish between a Paid and an Organic listing. But of course, we disagree…

 

Is this a disguise to get more Paid Search traffic?

Yes! Of course it is. Why would Google invest so much time testing this (since at least April) and not get any commercial gains from it?

Of course it will mean that more users will click on Paid Search Ads. This label change, on top of Expanded Text Ads benefits Paid Search advertisers. All of these updates will only help to increase CTR and traffic to site – across all Devices, not just on Mobile.

Now let’s not misinterpret this change to be a “sneaky tactic” by Google. On the contrary. Despite this change, Google are still ahead of their competitors in giving users transparency between differentiating Paid and Organic listings…

Google:

PPC hubbub - Google Green Ad Label - Google

Bing:

PPC hubbub - Google Green Ad Label - Bing

It’s much harder to distinguish under the cluttered Bing SERP, and even harder on Yahoo…

Yahoo:

PPC hubbub - Google Green Ad Label - Yahoo

On Google – Yes, if you took the time to look at a Paid Search ad and an Organic Listing side by side you will be able to distinguish the difference between the two. But in a world where users demand Search Engines to be their personal assistants and to give them the answers they want fast, users aren’t going to spend too much time focusing on whether something is a paid or organic listing. They’ll most likely click on Paid Search ads in the top positions, or the listing that gives them the most relevant answer. It’s then now more important than ever to follow Paid Search best practice across your account.

 

What does this mean for you?

We don’t think you’ll see an immediate impact on your performance. But it’s a combination of all of the changes that Google are making this year which will make the difference.

More potential for Paid

This makes Paid Search even more lucrative and important as part of your marketing strategy. Don’t get left behind by your competitors. This year, you’ll no doubt need to invest more into Paid Search as a way to deliver for your website.

More pressure on Organic 

Will this have a negative impact on Organic traffic? We think that if Google have rolled out this test, then that most likely means that they make some money out of it. In essence, they must have seen more clicks on Paid Search ads as a result of the test. Unfortunately this most likely means that there may be an element of Paid Traffic taking a bigger share of the market. This means it’s really important to work closely with your SEO team to ensure that your business does not lose out. Having great SEO is still so important!

More pressure on Paid Search to deliver the goods

All of these changes are done to increase paid search traffic to your site in a world where there are more people searching than ever. Ensure you don’t suffer from wasted ad spend with your Paid Search Strategy as a result. You may need to work even harder to increase your Quality Scores. Remember to follow Best Practice and have a robust Strategy in place.

Get ready for expanded text ads – Make you Ads more attractive

This change, on top of Expanded Text Ads, gives Paid Search a huge boost. Prepare now for Expanded Text Ads (see our previous blogs on Expanded Text Ads) as this ad format gives you chance to answer queries much better. Making Paid Search Ads even more relevant and personal will mean that you can answer a user’s query much better.

Could it be worth testing ad copy which is less “Paid” and more “Organic”? Ride the wave and make your Paid Search Ad Copy look more like Organic. Less Call to Actions and more focus around answering a search query could work for some businesses. It’s worth a test right?

Conversely, is it the time to make your ads more like “Paid” and less “Organic”? This could be the perfect time to use the Expanded Text Ad character length to scream about your USPs versus Competitors.

 

Summary

Yes it’s a small change by Google, but it could have much bigger consequences for marketers. The impact this might have on SEO is not yet known, but it surely means that we might see an increase in Paid Search traffic. As ever, it’s really important to have the best balance across both channels within Search – work closely with each other to deliver the results you need!

Hasn’t it been an interesting year so far!

Dan Roberts
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Dan Roberts

Founder & Author at PPC hubbub
Dan is a Google Shopping Specialist and was recently awarded Rising Star at The Drum Search Awards for the work delivered for his clients, agency and wider industry. Dan founded PPC hubbub after becoming frustrated with the lack of actionable insight and meaningful points of view for the industry.

LinkedIn - https://uk.linkedin.com/in/siondanielroberts
Dan Roberts
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