Google decided last weekend to stop showing ads on the right column of their search results page effective immediately (Feb 24, 2016)​ and globally. According to Google “We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.​” You will still see product listings ads and the Knowledge Panel on the right column.

There’s speculation that this change is revenue driven on Google’s part; if there are less ads above the fold (there are up to 4 ads before organic results) there is more pressure to make sure your ads are in one of those top 4 spots. This will affect all advertisers  but especially those who consistently aim for the top ad rank position. There is also a more organic visual flow to having all the ads line up with organic results that is especially relevant for searches on mobile and tablets.

What does this mean for the average advertiser? Bottom line; it’s time to optimize your campaigns and add a Google Shopping campaign (Product Listings Ads) if you haven’t already. It will be really interesting to watch how Google Shopping campaigns fluctuate over the next few months while advertisers figure out what this move means to their current campaigns. PLAs already make up 42% of Google’s paid advertising and we believe these will be more relevant and important for cost effective conversions.

Analyzing and monitoring your campaigns right now is also crucial. Look into bid adjustments for certain times of the day, get rid of expensive keywords that aren’t converting and optimize your ads for a better quality score. Keep an eye on your ad placements and see if your costs are going up if you’re in the top 4 paid positions.

It’s also time to work on optimizing your Google Business pages and boosting your online reviews. With the increase relevance of the Knowledge Panel on the right hand column it’s a great idea to focus some energy on your free Google My Business listings as well. You can find more information about your listings here:

Here are some more articles about how this will impact your campaigns:


Search Engine Watch:

Ads will no longer be served on the right hand column.      


 Heat map example of where people look at search results.



Four paid ads above the organic results and Google knowledge panel on the right column.

Google Ads layout

 Google Shopping Ads (PLAs), one paid ads and just blank space on the right column. 

toro lawn mower   Google Search


Want to learn more about how these changes will affect your campaigns and how to optimize effectively? Join us for Google AdWords classes in Minneapolis starting March 29th. Click here for more information:

Interested in an AdWords audit and consultation? Learn more about our AdWords consulting services here: or call us at 612-460-8770.