It is no secret that Google is always testing. (Who doesn't love a good A/B Test?!) The Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) changes constantly as Google gathers data to optimize not only user experience, but traffic and return on investment for their advertisers. Sometimes the changes are so subtle that you may not even notice them, and sometimes....well sometimes everything you know in life has changed, sending you on a roller coaster of emotions.
Recently while perusing the web, we came across one of Google's not so subtle tests.
Not only is this test dramatic in design, but it the first time that anyone here at Groove has seen the first place text ad get moved to the right rail in favor of another ad format. We remember fondly when the video ad format was tested. Instead of replacing the top text ad, it was an extension or continuation. Google must be pretty serious about Google Shopping if they are willing to displace the big cheese of all digital ad spaces and move the lower position ads below the scroll!
What This Change Could Mean
If this setup starts showing up more prominently in the SERP format rotation, we could see traffic shift away from more than just text ads. Google's knowledge graphs and local/map extensions that normally sit so happily in the top right corner could also see their Impressions decline. As a result, advertisers and agencies will likely need to spend more time focused on data feed optimization and product imagery, as opposed to text ad writing and local listings.
Retailers, especially, should watch for changes in their marketing mix that might indicate that Google Shopping is a more dominant revenue driver or that traditional Google text ads are weakened in their contribution to total sales. Either of these factors could indicate that Google found this test to be successful and has started to rotate the format more aggressively.
Google tests keep our lives exciting here at Groove and continue to keep Digital Advertisers on their toes. Although Google hasn't released any updates on the changing SERP, our team here at Groove will keep an eye out for further tests and will eagerly wait to see what happens next.
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