Google AdWords Yellow “Ad” Icon Spotted On Desktop SERPs In UK

The bold yellow “Ad” icon that started showing up in Google search results on smartphones in September, now appear to be  getting a test run in the UK.

This weekend, Ashley Williams, SEO Project Lead at Summit Media in the UK, noticed the icon appearing in the SERPs for every query he performed on his desktop. Here is what it looks like:

Google yellow ad icon in the UK across devices

 

In the new design, the yellow shading behind the ads is gone and a thin gray line separates the top set of ads from the organic listings, and the yellow icon is displayed at the top of the right rail ads. The “Ads related to [search query]” is also gone from the top of the ad set.

For quick comparison, here is a desktop SERP  for “shoes” in the US from today:

google desktop serp nov 4 2013

It’s not known how widespread this test on desktops is, and it doesn’t seem to have been spotted in the US, yet. Are you seeing the “Ad” icons in your SERPs?

Update: Many have commented below and via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to let us know the yellow icons are showing on desktop searches elsewhere, including  in the US. The mobile test that began in September appears to be fairly widespread at this point based on feedback.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google | Google: AdWords | Search Ads | Search Ads: General

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About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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  • Don Halbert

    I can confirm this as 100% true in the US also. This morning while checking rankings using USA IP from California I saw these yellow ad tags along with the fact they removed the slightly yellowish background color of the paid spots that they use to have. Only the tag “Ad”

  • Colin Guidi

    Yea I’m confirming as well for the US. I saw these this morning here.

    Oddly enough, I only saw them when signed out of my Google account, then when I signed back in the ads reverted to what we’re more use to seeing.

  • fabmol

    Been seeing them about a week now – then blend in well

  • https://www.k9Fetch.com/ Bradley Taylor

    if the ads are good (and relevant), the little yellow markers make them more prominent & likely to be clicked. Makes them look special. Somehow more important than the rest of the guff below.

  • Dr. Pete

    Saw those in testing a couple of day ago in the US, too. They’ve been on mobile for a while. Not sure on the logic, but speculation is that this may be related to Google’s settlement with the EU earlier this year.

  • Gordon Campbell

    Been happening since the tail end of last week, I blogged about it on Friday, only saw it happen once though – http://www.gordoncampbell.co.uk/google-test-clearer-adwords-results

  • http://localreachlabs.com/ Russell Hayes

    My speculation on this is due to recent antitrust investigations over Google’s ads not being conspicuous enough.

  • Bram Flipsen

    I can confirm this as 100% true in the Netherlands also.

  • Paul Caudell

    I agree to a certain extent but the colour draws the eye to the ‘Ad’ logo not the copy. I’ll be interested to know how it effects my CTRs though.

  • Paul Caudell

    I agree to a certain extent but the colour draws the eye to the ‘Ad’ logo not the copy. I’ll be interested to know how it effects my CTRs though.

  • Guest

    So above all that, thumbs up if you think yellow ad icons are better?

  • Guest
  • Rajesh Tavakari

    I see it here in India, from last few days. What puzzle’s me is, I don’t see the same yellow ad icon, when I do Google search in IE and Chrome. Do you all see Yellow AD icon in Chrome and IE too?

  • Rajesh Tavakari

    I see it here in India, from last few days. What puzzle’s me is, I don’t see the same yellow ad icon, when I do Google search in IE and Chrome. Do you all see Yellow AD icon in Chrome and IE too?

  • Rajesh Tavakari

    I don’t agree to this. The yellow icon, clearly indicates that, its a AD and not natural search results. Earlier, due to light background color the Adwords, looked as if, it was a part of natural search results. I am sure, the CTR will be hit.

  • Tin Lay

    I started seeing them now in Chrome on my desktop but not in Firefox (UK). Never use IE so wouldn’t know about that.
    I’m keeping a close eye on CTR. It makes the listings stand out but some searchers may be put off by the word ‘Ad’.

  • Tin Lay

    I started seeing them now in Chrome on my desktop but not in Firefox (UK). Never use IE so wouldn’t know about that.
    I’m keeping a close eye on CTR. It makes the listings stand out but some searchers may be put off by the word ‘Ad’.

  • Chuck Watson

    Rajesh, you are absolutely correct. Since the new yellow “AD” has appeared, my conversions are down 50%. These days, folks really hate ads, especially when it is highlighted such as this. The old, subtle version served a better purpose and conversions were good.

  • Chuck Watson

    Rajesh, you are absolutely correct. Since the new yellow “AD” has appeared, my conversions are down 50%. These days, folks really hate ads, especially when it is highlighted such as this. The old, subtle version served a better purpose and conversions were good.

  • Troy D. Nash

    Negative Ghost Rider…! My pay per click “Ad” click-through rate has taken a BIG HIT toward the negative since this has shown up. Now the layman KNOWS this is an Ad and avoids it at all costs.

  • Troy D. Nash

    Negative Ghost Rider…! My pay per click “Ad” click-through rate has taken a BIG HIT toward the negative since this has shown up. Now the layman KNOWS this is an Ad and avoids it at all costs.

  • http://adsecur.com/ Specjalista SEO

    I confirm: I see yellow ads in polish Google (google.pl) on desktops (different browsers) and on smarfons (Google Android: Chrome + Lynx). Ads in polish means: “Reklama”: – I see this word (new yellow ads) only in google.pl.

    If I’am searching (same words) in google.com – I see older view – yellow background.

    Feel free to use pictures – copies of screen:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114607842872055485625/photos/114607842872055485625/albums/5948309809218645985

  • Right Wired

    So when will radio and tv stations be required to comply as well?

  • Liam Jones

    What this may well do, is lead to a drop in CTR. However, if you’re serving high quality, relevant ads and content/landing pages – your conversion rate should increase and bounce rate drop, as users know they are clicking on an ad rather than organic result.

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