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I don't think they stand out nearly as well as they used to, but it does mean the there could be more ads on the side bar than there used to be.
Not so sure I like this change. But they still do display adwords on top of the serps in the colored bar.
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 4:40 pm (utc) on Mar. 29, 2004]
<added>The popularity bar is still showing up in the advertiser account where it shows the ad creative in campaign management. Either it isn't permanent, or the changes haven't been rolled out to the advertiser end of things yet.</added>
My prediction is that within 6 months they'll move the ads to the top of the page ...remove the blue bar ..and finally pay for position will be with us ...
You've only got to see the last 6 months ...the only things you could consistantly find from one day to te next in the serps were the "spammy" directories with the ads...so ...why not go the whole hog?
The main effect of the new formot is to make it harder to see that these are ads ...now they just look like misplaced standard serps results ...
Joe and Jane public are not going to realise they are "paid for" ....they are going to think they are the most relevant ....
I 'm amazed everyone just saw this ..it's been in place since at least a week now ...
A limited number of users were seeing it while they were doing some testing. The wide release launch for this was a few hours ago, so now everyone is seeing it, rather than just a limited few.
My premium-position ads have a slightly higher CTR, but my ads on the side have a significantly lower CTR than the old coloured boxes.
Hope it evens out over the rest of the day...
Part of me supports only having the link linkified (as opposed to the entire box) because people will actually have to mean to click on the link, so it won't be accidental clicking that doesn't convert in the long run.
Also, I think a lot of people like having blue underlined links (the old days...) and know they're the clickable bit. The old style mightn't have made it as clear.
The other part of me thinks it looks boring, the ads no longer stand out and look like normal results, if not even smaller. Those people don't pay, we do. I think Adwords should look different and stand out and the new design does nothing for this.
Also the top blue boxes being exactly the same means your advert seems attatched to your competitor's, some customers may think you're affiliated, or just click anywhere in the blue box and get the wrong link ('wrong' in this case being the competitors Ad).
But then stats will tell...
Changes in Broadmatching logic have meant many more hours managing our AW account and higher cost to retain traffic.
The more ROI slips, the more $ we shift over to Overture.
Soon, we will be spending more On Overature than Google.
This may be good for advertisers, but the public may have some backlash if they think they're being duped (again).
But they also run together visually - therefore they don't stand out, therefore fewer people will click on them.
A wash, as far as I'm concerned.
I thought the whole point was NOT to dupe the consumer.
Google is certainly going 'corporate' in advance of their IPO.
Lets all remember the CTR is G's religion not ours! ROI is ours. They had better hope ROI goes up.
Our ROI has been going down due to higher costs related to the destruction of broadmatching logic.
According to previous postings, conversions "left" and "right" should be similar, if that's true it probably does not make a big difference.
How much of an increase in the ctr has occured? It is obvious it is up significantly this morning already.
Who cares about CTR? Not me! it is ROI I care about (epecially the "R" part)
We sell an expensive service with large profit margins but very low conversion rates. So, for us it takes months to get a sense of average ROI.
Instead, we track the number of page views per keyword. The farther into the site visitors penetrate gives us a 'sort of' ROI.
Since the interface change yesterday and today, our average PV's per Google visitor are down 20% where as PV's per Overture visitor has remained the same.
Google's interface chaneg seems like a big mistake.
But a 20% Decline in Average Page views per visitor certainly sends me a message -- The added visitors are less relevant by a fifth!
I'd bet I could tell you the hour this change went live because the sudden drop in PV's is that obvious in our tracking.
If this continues, Google has instantly become 20% less valuable to us. And therefore, Overature just got 20% more valuable.
[edited by: nyet at 5:16 pm (utc) on Mar. 29, 2004]
However, if you've made a strategy out of hovering in the lower-ranked boxes because they're more cost-effective, then I bet the new white-wash look is hurting you, because there's no visual queue to catch anyone's eye.
My theory is that users are more confused about weather or not they are ads or not. Now maybe in time users of Google will figure it all out again, but at this moment we are getting more visitors who are averaging LESS pages viewed, so they are less valuable.
Paying more....getting less......
Some one on our staff is right now comparing PV's before and after on those words where we have the top (still colored box) position.
It will be interesting to see if the avg PV's for those words (ads) has changed.
I'd also think that the first few days stats won't be incredibly accurate while searchers get used to the new format, so we should wait a bit before calling foul.
If ROI drops significantly I'll have complaints too, but I think G would have known that. They're smart enough to know that their advertisers need good ROI, or they'll go elsewhere.