Google Drops Right-Side Ads From Desktop Results Pages: What Hoteliers Need to Know
Over the weekend, Google confirmed that they will no longer be showing paid ads on the right side of desktop search results pages worldwide. Previously, a search engine results page featured up to three ads at the top of the page, with a column to the right of up to eight ads.
With the new page layout, paid ads will only be shown at the top and/or bottom of the page. Google did confirm that for "highly commercial queries," which should include most hotel searches, four ads will show instead of three.
Here are screenshots showing search results and ads both before and after the update.
Sabre Hospitality Solutions anticipates a rise in cost-per-click as there will be less ad space at the top of the page, making these positions much more valuable. This rise in cost will most likely have a bigger effect on non-brand campaigns as they tend to be highly competitive. We will also be closely monitoring organic traffic, as this update will further push organic results down the page.
What should hotels be doing differently with paid search?
First off, while there are fewer ads now at the top of the page overall, there are frequently going to be four ads instead of three in that prime ad space above the organic listings. Having placement in this list of four becomes even more important, as users may have to scroll down to even see an organic listing for many searches. It also means that the benchmark for successful paid search visibility should shift from an average position of 3.0 or higher to an average position of 4.0 or higher.
To combat the anticipated rise in average cost-per-click, Sabre Hospitality Solutions employs various methods to target very highly qualified users, resulting in higher conversion rates and lower cost-per-acquisition. By using customer data, we can target users by their demographics, geographic location, device type, interests and even email addresses.
Taking this even a step further, Sabre Hospitality Solutions can use data extracted from Retailing Insights to build and reach out to audiences of users searching for specific stay dates, lengths of stay, midweek/weekend stays, and more. Ultimately, the goal is to know exactly the type of customer you are targeting, in order to get the most "bang" for your marketing bucks.