Google Removes Ads from Right Side of Search Result Pages

February 23 / Mark Kelly / filed under Pay-Per-Click

Change is the norm in search marketing, and Google proved that to be true in a big way on February 19, 2016.

On that day Google rolled out a huge worldwide change to the way it displays pay-per-click ads on desktop search engine result pages. With a few exceptions, Google will no longer show right side ads on search result pages. With this change the Google ad experience for desktop users now mirrors the mobile user experience, which has never featured right side ads. While it was announced unexpectedly, this shift to a more universal ad experience is not surprising. With the rise of large screen smartphones, touchscreen laptops and professional-level tablets, the line between desktop and mobile has become increasingly blurred in recent years. In 2016, streamlining the advertising experience for desktop and mobile users is a logical move for Google.




As part of this change, Google will now sometimes display four pay-per-click ads at the top of search result pages (the maximum they used to display was three). Google has said they plan to only display four ads on “highly commercial” searches, but we are seeing four ads come up quite often for the vast majority of our client campaigns.

We will carefully monitor how this change affects pay-per-click campaigns for all of our clients and make ongoing changes to ensure pay-per-click success.


What This Means for You:
  • If you were already targeting positions 1-3 on the search result pages for your ads, then this change should not immediately affect your strategy.
  • However, with the elimination of the right-side ad slots we expect that advertiser competition for the four slots at the top of the page will intensify. This could lead to increased cost per click as advertisers fight to stay at the top of the page.


If you have questions or concerns about how this change may affect your digital marketing strategy, feel free drop us a line. We are here to help!