Google Adwords right sidebar ads removed – Less Ads, More competition, Same old solutions

Google Adwords right sidebar ads have been removed from desktop search results without any prior official announcement.

CPC’s might rise but you can maintain almost similar performance without increasing total budget.
Know which keywords are working for you and move budget from non-working keywords to keywords bringing results, so that you may compete even if CPC’s rise.

  • In each account there are always keywords that are eating budget without delivering equivalent results.
    • It might sound odd but in practice I find that this refining (optimization) process to find relatively “wasteful” keywords is recursive. No matter how well tuned your account may be, there will always be a possibility of getting more results from keywords that work, by taking away budget from the keywords that work less.

As can be expected, removal of adwords right sidebar ads would lead to reduction in number of available impressions and most likely an increase in CPC.

This is a big change and will definitely require adjustment in bids as all advertisers will adjust to this reduced inventory.

While I did not notice any immediate rise in CPC’s in accounts being maintained by me but this could change in near future. This could be specific to accounts being maintained by me but on a quick check I found that most of my client’s accounts (majority of them focused on lead generation) get only about average 4 to 5 percent clicks from the sidebar.

  • The sidebar does contribute to a lot of impressions but the volume of clicks is not really substantial. ( In some cases, the CPC of these sidebar clicks is even higher than top of the page clicks and cost per conversion is higher than that from the top position ads. )

Adwords is a competitive space where the competition and hence CPC can rise anytime for a variety of reasons. Even though this is major change  and affects accounts across the board but I see this as just one of the many changes that can happen to increase competition.

As with every such change, conversion tracking and optimizing accounts becomes even more important now.

Other notes :

  1. So far the only official announcement I have seen is on the Google Adwords advertiser’s community on this thread, which reads as below :
  2. “We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

  3. A quick way to see how much the sidebar ads contributed could be to segment your data between “Top vs. Other” .
  4. Google Adwords Right Sidebar ads removed - segment top vs. other for quick analysis

  5. Search Engine Land has a very detailed and useful article on this change.