As of Sunday the 22nd Google has removed the right hand side ads from the majority of its desktop search results. Instead you will see 3 to 4 ads at the very top of the page and 2 to 3 ads at the very bottom of the page.
This means the number of ads has been reduced from 11 to 7 and the visibility of the ad positions 5 to 7 is practically non-existent.
Due to the change in page layout, we see a number of ways that this will impact the gambling industry:
- Operators and affiliates who have been happy to sit in lower ad positions and pick up incremental clicks, will now be receiving considerably less clicks.
- Operators and affiliates who are ranking in positions 1 to 5 on organic will see a drop in clicks as the ads are pushing organic listings down the page.
Impact on Auction Dynamics:
We predict we will see a situation where the top ads will receive the vast majority of the clicks. As an advertiser in order to get any decent level of PPC clicks you will need to be in the top 4 slots at the very least if not top 3. This could mean for an advertiser currently in position 7 an increase in CPCs of 50% in order to compete.
Mitigating Factors for Organic:
This will only have a negative impact on organic positions in countries where Google allows Adwords such as UK, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Spain, France and Italy. Other countries should remain unaffected.
Why Has Google Done This?
There has been no official announcement from Google on this so let the speculation begin. We believe it is Google saying that Desktop is dead and the world has gone Smartphone/Tablet. As such these results are far better optimised for tablet devices and will be here to stay.
Secondly and most importantly by freeing up this space on the search results page, Google will be able to add Product Listing Ads (no impact on Gambling but huge in retail) to the space. This will allow it to compete better against Amazon who have become the go-to retail search engine.
Any Good News for the Gambling Industry?
Yes, one small thing. Google quietly killed off their shopping comparison product at the same time which they where using for Credit Cards, Flights and Car Rental. This would suggest that Google will not be entering the gambling affiliate space any time soon.