Google is at it once again! The most recent changes they have rolled out surround the announcement that they will be removing the pay-per-click (PPC) ads from the right hand side of the Google search results page and rolling out a new Google Analytics report called User Explorer. Both are sure to change the advertising playing field.
Despite this change in AdWords, Google will still utilize the successful knowledge graph and its Product Listing Ads (PLA) on the right side of the page. In select searches, Google will expand the number of ads on the top of the page from 3 to 4 for what they are calling “highly commercial queries,” (ie. “mortgage loans” or “restaurants in Chicago.”)
Why would Google take this bold step?
How will this change affect marketers?
Quite simply, the bottom line. Google’s number 1 revenue source is AdWords. In 2014, $45 billion of Google’s $66 billion in revenue came from AdWords. The decrease in number of advertisements is going to affect competition, driving CPC prices up. In addition to that, Google has determined that click-through rates on the right-hand side have historically been much lower than ads placed at the top and bottom of the page.
What can advertisers do about this?
Primarily, the biggest takeaway is the need to put your money where your mouth is. You have to spend money to make money. So it’s important to be aggressive in your bidding on keywords. Furthermore, this is an excellent opportunity to audit your keyword lists to make sure that you have relevant, specific terms that will drive traffic and allow you to show much more prominently for keywords that are specific to you.
As for the implementation of User Explorer, you will now have the ability to see individual user experience with your site, more specifically the specific path a search user has taken to find your site and navigate throughout it. Analytics has always had tools on a macro level that provide averages of performance, but never before has there been the ability to view a user’s unique experience on such a micro level.
User Explorer Reporting is a new set of reporting in Google Analytics under the ‘Audience’ tab that will allow customers to anonymously analyze individual interactions from their visitors. The significance of this is that marketers now have the ability to obtain insight that shows how a user is using their site, which opens up avenues for improvement and optimization.
Google has made these tools available in their ongoing efforts to make online marketing more effective for customers, and this is the next giant step in helping customers get where they want to go. This allows you to see your website in a way that an individual sees it, and the possibilities of that information are limitless. Make sure you are taking advantage of these powerful tools.