Right Rail Ad Strategy: What To Do Now?

 

Recently, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in what our SERPs look like on Google Search. Right side ads have been removed, and (like children who lost their safety blanket) a lot of advertisers are understandably concerned.

 

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The Old SERP

 

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The New SERP

 

No more right rail means that positions 4 and lower are dramatically different in terms of performance, not to mention the effects this has on the overall appearance of your ads.

Don’t worry though, boys and girls, we’re all going to get through this together and I’m here to help.

 

Make The Most Of Your Ads

The first thing to keep in mind is that without basic right rail ads, it has never been more important to ensure you’re taking full advantage of your real estate on the SERP. You’re paying good money for your ads to show and now that they’re all on the left side, content is king, even in advertising.

You now have up to four top of page ads and three bottom of page. This means that all ads look very similar to organic listings and the more built out they are, the more enticing they are to your customers. According to Google, “On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift from implementing a new ad extension.”

Be sure to include callout extensions, sitelinks, reviews, calls, and structured snippets to have a better chance of drawing eyes to your ad. If you have all of these showing with your ad while your competition lacks additional information, your ad will stand out more and looks more professional.

 

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Make Your Ad Descriptions Powerful

Secondly, it is important to remember that with your ads now showing on the left, they will no longer have the traditional separation of description lines one and two. More often than not, you’ll see one continuous line of text for the description and you should take advantage of that.

You have callout extensions to make claims about shipping or discounts, but the description is your chance to write 70 compelling characters that make one strong statement about your company or product. Occasionally, Google will pull description line 1 into the headline and it’s difficult to know when they will do this, but your focus should be to make a powerful claim that says more than just “free shipping over $50.”

 

Bid Smarter, Not Higher

Lastly, the most tempting option to a majority advertisers with the new left side only system is going to be to bid up on keywords for position. While this seems natural knowing that the top four ads can be top of page and lower positions are found at the bottom, to this point there has been no evidence of a dramatically increased bidding strategy, but too many panicked advertisers could change that. As of now, clicks have remained fairly constant. Bids are for the most part the same and it would be unwise to adjust your bids based on anything other than performance data.

 

With all of this said, building out your ad real estate, linking your descriptions, and carefully considering your bidding strategy are all going to be helpful, but this all boils down to good copy. Ad extensions are extremely helpful and maintaining a reasonable CPC should help your CPA, but good ads start with the writing itself. Continue A/B testing, optimize your ads, and write compelling copy.

The right rail disappearing will have a small impact on metrics, but as long as you do continue to do quality work, you’ll produce quality results.

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