DANGER. Biggest change in AdWords in 10 years

PerryMarketing Blog26 Comments

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Attention: Google just sliced off the ads on the right side and tossed them in the dumpster.

Sort of like divorcing your high school sweetheart and throwing her off a bridge.


Remember: In the beginning there were ZERO ads at the top of Google AdWords. Now there are 4!

Right side is all gone. Bye-bye.

What is "80" and what is "20" for your business right now? Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the highest compound interest on your time and money!

Totally changes the game. Much harder to wedge your way IN. And… makes it harder to STAY on top. Those coveted spots will be vied for!

If you’re at the top of Google now – batten down the hatches.

WATCH THIS SPACE because your strategy for Google AdWords is going to totally change.

Announcements coming soon.

Do. Not. Ignore.

Perry Marshall

photo credit: CIMG8152 via photopin (license)

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

26 Comments on “DANGER. Biggest change in AdWords in 10 years”

  1. I have been advertising our business shop on adwords.
    I am not spending a lot.
    But I did for a consultant that had us in inapproprite categories. Like umbrellas instead of paper parasols,
    I have been trying it myself.

  2. Flipping them the finger is a GREAT thing, they need everyone to do it. Android phones are simply spy devices, but everyone accepts it, maybe if all those small business owners with podcasts and blogs started to badmouth Google, Google might realize we do matter! Ask Harley Davidson about ignoring customers, especially us old timers, not working out so good for them!

    Google and Facebook are government spy machines, simple as that. One of these days someone is going to replace both of them, not today, but one day and it always starts with someone flipping someone off……….Kind of like that Place called The United States of America………..someone got flipped off, don’t hear much about England anymore….lol

    80-20 is cool and real, but Think and Grow Rich is the Truth!

  3. Google’s focus on mobile only is killing the value of my SEM services to RV parks. The demographic of this consumer market is more likely a retired couple. People don’t plan vacations on phones. They research travel choices on desktop. Hotel bookings might be made on a phone but family campouts are too important and too complex to just book without tons of research. Campground vacation travel is NOT a local business–it’s the opposite of that. Nobody vacations at campgrounds in their back yard. They travel to elsewhere. If Goog is favoring local establishments then my niche will stop working. The fruitful long tail keywords i was using were working great on the right side. Now it’s a struggle to get any ad on the page at all, top or bottom.

    I’ve got the May 24th Google Performance Summit on my calendar. I fear what they will do next.

  4. Google is simply shifting their ads to a top 4 format to maximize their profits. Everything they do, every move they make is to grow their profits and their business. Location, location, location. We all know the house on Pebble Beach comes with a beachfront price tag, which is exactly what they are creating by eliminating all other ad slots. They have effectively created prime real estate with their ppc ad space, simply by reducing inventory. This ad space will fetch Pebble Beach prices, leaving the middle class small business owner unable to afford the price tag. Not to mention it would seem as though every move made has mobile search in mind, it will be very interesting to see what the future holds for Adwords!

  5. Perry, when will you do webinar about this topic?
    Have you seen how many comments are here (20), compared to the other posts (0-2)?
    The market has spoken, did you listen? This is the biggest itch at the moment and only you can scratch it.

    In the meantime I have some comments/questions.

    Is this a good time for consultants? There will be hundreds of thousands of people with bleeding neck desperately seeking some help. Which industries will be the best customers in this situation?

    Display campaigns will be more important for small biz than search campaigns in the future?
    More people will move to facebook, bing and other ppc?

    The new strategy will be – optimize it on bing, then fine tune on adwords, then take it to the display network and then anywhere else online and offline?

    What about local adwords? Big players dont have the resources to compete with local lawyers, roofers, etc.?

    What will be the next step of Google? When people finally realize that the first 4 positions are just advertising, they will skip them and go down to the organic results. And then Google will randomly mix and match adwords with organic results?

    Whats the best strategy for Adwords at the moment? The bottom 4 ads will dissappear soon, and the top 4 ads have excelent CTR and even more excelent CPC, but not so excelent conversions? People will fight for the 4. position because its nearest to the organic results, with the best CPC and conversions. So it will be race to the bottom and race to the top at the same time?

  6. Everything is going mobile and on mobile, it’s gone anyway. Same with anyone with a mobile website. In better news, locals will have more of a chance as Google will likely charge out-of-area advertisers more than locals.

  7. As a major ad words user for many years, I watched my key word positioning go from 5 cents per click on day one to $6.00 per click 5 years later. I discovered too late in the game, at the detriment of my business, that those much cheaper network ads could be utilized for more effective advertising. When I was paying $6.00 for position ads, I could have been paying .75 for network display ads that look better and tell more about my business. The volume of Web sites who participate has created a large bucket to fill, so ad cost stays low. Google realizes that and would rather it’s advertisers noticed the better product availability.
    I now make my living on adsense with tens of millions of weekly page views on my web sites. My readers spend a fortune on other people’s products. I make a hefty living off those clicks. It’s a win win, and I live that Google Shares.

  8. I’m a small business owner and a free market capitalist. Google is a behemoth with shareholders to please. It makes all the sense in the world that the SERP would change because of the world domination of mobile phones. Google’s screen on mobile didn’t show the right hand column.

    I have a love/hate relationship with Google. But I think it would be a death knell if I cancelled my account altogether (I worry about reader Todd Camp and others like him). There are really only 5 things we can do about Google:

    1. think like them so structure our campaigns to benefit them
    2. think like our customers and create compelling ads so they buy, buy, buy
    3. Supplement our efforts with other on and off-line campaigns (the more creative the better!)
    4. Focus on the customer’s experience with our business, on and off website
    5. Reserve Perry’s new edition of his AdWords book. Perry, I think you should self publish so you can respond to the market as quickly as Google/FB does! :) In the meantime, I’ll be reading this column.

    Keep up the great work.

  9. Thanks for the heads up Perry. I always love your articles. I remember back before Adwords. It doesn’t surprise me at all. If I was in charge of Google, I would test ways of maximizing profits and I can see why this would be a good method. Yes, the players with the deepest pockets win. That’s business. Google is not there to do anyone favours. It’s not a charity, it’s a business.

  10. Hi Perry,

    I agree this is a big move for Google and ultimately it will make add more relevant and conversion even better I think. So it seems to me that they are replacing the right side with more shopping related feeds ? Sort of like putting the Google shopping in that space. Maybe in the future take an approach of charging a commission on the final sale ?

  11. It seems that Google is only interested in stupidity tax.

    But then, with so many corporations dumping vast sums into their advertising budgets – without so much as a care for the result – Google is abusing the blindness of their biggest payers.

    The very thing that made advertising on Google search popular – that is to say, Adwords’ reflexivity – the very thing that made Google the #1 for advertising and nailed their place at the top… is now the very thing they don’t have time for.

    In short, the nimble David that Google once was has become one of the bumbling Goliaths. The same game as the high-class marketing agencies in Manhattan.

    But then, Google Adwords is still a system: put good stuff in and you’ll get good stuff out the other end, with the fine tuning taking a modest role. Now with Google having torn out two of the HT leads, means tuning becomes irrelevant: it’s a matter of getting the engine to sputter with only two cylinders.

    Getting your neatly phrased haiku under the noses of those who will buy is harder than ever.

    1. Gemma,

      I’m always a “root for the underdog” kind of guy, which isn’t generally a very 80/20 position to take. 80/20 bets on the incumbent.

      People who understand 80/20 can pretty well guess why Google is doing this. And there can be no question that they’ve tested it exhaustively before rolling it out.

      But I do think by doing this, Google is clamping down on the creativity, flexiblity and ability to test. They are reducing the level of innovation that searchers get exposed to. I do think that will have long-term negative effects.

      The importance for all of us is to live in the IS world not the SHOULD BE world.

      Thanks Gemma for your comments.

    2. I agree that Google will have tested this exhaustively; but as you know, one percent of Google’s customers gives it 99% of its profits – and it’s probably ten times that. With this kind of disparity, there’s no real value needed: it really does just come down to those guys who have a stack and those who don’t.

      That ain’t 80-20! That’s corporatism, pure and simple, no thinking needed! Google is out to fleece the fleecable, dim-witted corporations, and they’re going about it the right way: they save enormous amounts of computer power and their income goes down by 0.01%. Big savings. And if you’ve grasped the nettle of why people want to save money rather than invest wisely, you’ll know what Google’s up to.

      Because as you know, 80-20 hasn’t anything to do with money: it’s all to do with WHY a person values your product more than the money they pay you. It is about giving them a choice, it is about inviting innovation and creativity… the problem is that it does cost money.

      My question to you is this: how would you recognize the characteristics of a creative, intelligent person who doesn’t have any money, when you’re looking out for is who’s buying? Would they walk straight past you because you’re looking at the till?

          1. There’s an amazing number of great marketers who started out selling door to door. No Google slaps there.

  12. Every ad channel has its evolution it seems. Starts out great for the small guy, ends of better for the big guy :)

    I am following this closely. I look forward to your updates Perry.

    1. Yessir, and still thinking about Todd Camp – vowing revenge on Google is just cutting off your nose to spite your face. Wise as serpents, gentle as doves is the name of the game.

  13. Perry, I spent 3 hours with google support the other night about this. They were constantly trying to convince me how this was a good thing. I have very high quality scores and CTR’s and have spent hundreds of hours on my campaigns. Now my ads that were showing on the right side are (sometimes) being shown on the bottom of the page and CTR’s have tanked. They even told me that they will probably eliminate the ads at the bottom in the near future. Evidently relevancy no longer matters. Those with the deepest pockets will start a bidding war for the top spots and win no matter how relevant their ads are. I have been working with adwords since the beginning and have spent over 1/2 mil on ads. I have canceled all my accounts and they will never see another dime of my ad spend or my clients. Bing/Yahoo have started to produce better results at half the price. I just hope Bing/Yahoo don’t do the same. Sad day for the small business man trying to provide quality ads/products on Google. Thank you for all your hard work over the years. I am a BIG fan.

    1. It’s not a “good” thing for YOU. It’s good for them. Might possibly be good for the customer. I don’t know that flipping them the finger is actually a good move though. It’s 90/10.

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