Google Tests Favicons For AdWords In Germany And Poland

We were alerted that Google appears to be testing favicons in Germany and Poland for AdWords advertisers. Here are a few screens:

A number of advertisers in the US have informally reported higher CTRs using the Google Checkout icon. (One discussion I had with an advertiser in the UK last week said he saw an 8 percent lift in clicks.) Icons in AdWords potentially can provide a bit of “branding” or at least help advertisers stand out from one another. (Yahoo’s SearchMonkey pushes this much further in organic results.)

The paradox, however, is that if everyone does this it probably ceases to be effective.

Postscript by Barry Schwartz: Interestingly enough, Google has been testing favorite icons on the organic (free) search side as well. About a month and a half ago, I reported this at the Search Engine Roundtable, where we spotted confirmation of this test from a Googler.

Like Greg, I would be surprised if those icons did not increase one’s CTR and ultimately increase the ads quality score, leading to a lower CPC price.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • SEMatze


    I totally agree with you that favicons or ulterior symbols would obviously serve as eye-catchers & therefore ultimately lead to higher CTRs and a better QS. However, as Greg has pointed out, it would not make any sense if everybody can use them as it would cease the effect. So what is Google testing here? Will there be a certain restraint
    for accessibility to advertisers? Or is Google merely trying to increase CTR on ads in general in order to earn more money?
    I don’t really know, but in any case the test made me curious enough to post it and see what others think about it. Let’s see what happens in the future. :-)
    Best, Matt

  • Tomasz Topa

    One of the many Google test SERPs, but worth mentioning that this time it’s concerning paid links.

    Those icons surely do draw attention. As small as 16x16px but if there are almost no other graphics on the page, they stand out of the crowd. Even if 75% of the AdWords links will have icons, they will all have way better CTR than previously.

  • jameszol

    I have a screen shot of this for the US…should have blogged about it a week or two ago when I saw it. lol I could not replicate it again. :(

    I’ll email the screen shot to you if you’d like to see it.

  • tlainevool

    I have a screen capture of a US based search on my blog:

  • susanhallam

    On 13 March Google AdWords was also testing the favicons in the UK for a very brief period- see the screen captures in my blog:

  • kerstinbakerash

    Google UK has confirmed this morning that it was a closed test, limited to a very few select advertisers (who might not have known that they were participating) and searchers. As far as our AM knew, it was global and lasted for a very short period of time:

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