LucidSW - 2:52 pm on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)
Interesting test and I see positives and negatives depending on which side of the tracks you're on.
Would this not be some sort of extension to the +1 button but for the PPC side?
Google is really an advertising company. Just like all other media like radio, TV, newspaper. Their product is not the entertainment or the news. Their product is advertising. So anything they can do to increase that, the better for them. Google is no different.
So potential positive for Google in getting more people to click those ads and getting more advertisers.
But as Tropical Island points out, do we want competitors to know? Maybe a small price to pay to increase our own clicks.
While I agree that many are not aware that those are ads, there are those who know and refrain from clicking them at all. Others I've talked to don't click the side ads, only those above the SERPs.
Also, seems this might affect newer advertisers negatively. If I just started a campaign and a competitor started a year ago, he'd have more clicks. Would searchers be more inclined to click on his ad than mine, even with a better offer? Maybe a better system would be "x% of people liked this ad". I doubt Google would do that since they don't want advertisers to know how individual competitors are doing.
Another thing, too, is that clicks from search or including the content network?