• http://smartrich.wordpress.com Richard Gregory

    Great post George.

    I’d add a couple of “dials” to the idea as well:
    – New channels – in the UK we’re seeing a lot of incremental search through the mobile channel, and more recently through ads in image search.
    – Fewer restrictions – over the last couple of years Google has lifted barriers to advertising on Gambling and Alcohol terms over here in the UK.

    Although all these dials pail in comparison when you look at the options available to Facebook. they currently only show ads on the PC version of the site, yet most of their traffic comes from mobile. Turning on that channel will be one hell of a “Lever”!

    Richard

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Thanks Richard. You’re absolutely right about those “out of context” searches (for images, etc) that can fire ads, and mobile is a whole new ball game. Call those dials 4 and 5! Thanks for your comment!

    George

  • http://www.epiphanysolutions.co.uk SteveBaker

    Hi George,

    There’s a subtle difference between the first dial and the others – where the second and third dials would probably increase the profitability of advertisers’ campaigns, the first is likely to result in a significant drop in performance on campaigns that aren’t being managed carefully.

    Ultimately, this is likely to result in advertisers cutting their PPC budgets, as the quality of traffic driven deteriorates, which could cause Google to lose significant revenue.

    The second dial talks about Google manipulating sponsored search results in order to increase click through rates – it’s interesting to note that when they announced the decision to push the first line of adverts into the title, they highlighted that they \found that the change results in higher clickthrough rates for ads that are shown with the longer headline, as well as other top ads that appear beside them.\ http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/02/longer-headlines-for-select-ads-on.html.

    Clearly, they consider increasing click through rates on paid adverts to be important (though not at the expense of the user experience, they say).

    I’m curious to see whether reducing the number of rows that an advert takes up will allow them to introduce a fourth advert above the organic results without impacting the user experience…

    Steve Baker
    Chief Analyst
    Epiphany Solutions

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Thanks Steve, yes as I mentioned in the post, the first dial moved too aggressively would cause savvy advertisers to lower bids and might hurt G’s revenue.

    An argument could be made that when the commercial intent is very high, Google could insert a number of ads: 5, 6, 10? above the organic listings without really impacting user experience. In these cases the ads are often more relevant than the organic listings and the landing pages better chosen.

    I won’t be surprised to see a 4th and 5th ad tested this year.