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Don't hurt my bottom line too much Google or I will give up some of your ad placements to competitors that don't force big ugly CTR destroying squares on their text units.
Do you have the Enhanced Text ads switched on?
having seen the ads, it seems that CTRs may have dropped as they look cheap and tacky and too obviously ads, whereas people perhaps before thought the links were more informational and part of the content - often clicked by mistake?
Google hasn't exactly done a great job touting the benefits of Display. Usually when they promote, they're promoting the Search Network.
Nowadays, Google has rebranded that as "Search Network with Display Select" but I for one can't tell the difference.
I imagine Google would rather advertisers use the Search Network because they keep 100% of the revenue, no sharing with publishers.
make it so that if a person who clicks the ad doesn't buy an item then they don't have to pay me the publisher anything
To suggest these ads are being used because they reduce accidental clicks is a farce.