Google Change Mobile Ads

You may have noticed amidst the torrent of changes made by Google recently that they have also released an update to the way that mobile ads appear.

Mobile ads have historically looked like this:

Mobile Ads
Image courtesy of Google

This look allowed them to easily blend into the organic listings and despite the small ad icon in the top right hand corner of the sponsored box, at a glance a paid ad could easily be mistaken for an organic listing. The new ads are much clearer and state far more obviously they are a paid advert:

Mobile Ads #2
Image courtesy of Google

The big question, what’s the potential impact?

CTR of Paid Vs. Organic

FirstClick is forecasting a change in Click Through Rates, being more easily able to identify a paid ad from an organic listing, accidental paid clicks are less likely to occur.  We feel it’s likely that paid clicks will fall and organic will see a rise, counteracting Google’s recent moves to increase paid advertisers in mobile search and consequently its bottom line.

Conversion Rate

In general paid traffic is more qualified and closer to the point of purchase making it more likely to convert. If however, a statistically significant number of people were unwittingly clicking paid ads they would not necessarily be more qualified. This change to mobile ads could potentially allow for more qualified traffic and hence improve conversion rates across paid search.

What does Google have to say?

We contacted Google and they gave the following statement:

“We’re constantly evolving the search experience on Google and we’ll continue to clearly label ads to help users distinguish between organic and paid content on the search results page. 

You will see this change any time you do a Google search from our homepage,, or the main search results page for web results. This is a global update (with the exception of South Korea) currently affecting mobile & tablet.

Along with this change, we’re also launching new labelling for Top and Bottom Ads on mobile and tablet devices. The RHS Ads and “Sponsored” units remain unchanged.”

Watch This Space

Both the points we’ve made above are theories based on our observation of past trends, over the next week or so, we’ll monitor the data we generate across all clients and see if we’re proved right or wrong and follow up with another post.

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