Will the New Google Design Effect CTR? Not Likely.

Image Courtesy of Usertesting.com

The new Google design on their search engine results pages (SERPs) are officially live. In case you’ve been living under a rock (which, I’d imagine would be quite uncomfortable), Google revised their results pages to include the following updates:

  • No more underlines
  • Larger titles on results
  • Even line heights
  • The yellow “ad” icon on every paid search listing
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As someone that works in SEM, my major concern whenever Google makes a change such as this is, of course, how will this new design effect CTR? With Google placing more of a “red flag” on ads, would people start shying away from them?

My fears were allayed, a bit, when I saw this study on Twitter from Usertesting.com. The site set up a 50-person study to get the reactions of people to different aspects of the new Google design. The end result: not only did people rate the new version easier to read, but, surprisingly, the results were identical when asked how easy paid links were to identify on both the old & new pages.

Old Google Score: B (87.2%) | Avg. Score: 4.36 (out of 5)
New Google Score: B (87.2%) | Avg. Score: 4.36 (out of 5)

Great, you may be thinking, but does that mean that CTR won’t still be effected?

Sorry, but no, it doesn’t. However, there’s an even better reason to believe that your paid search campaigns will be just fine.

As you’re well aware of, Google is a business. A business, in fact, that makes much of its income off of advertising– paid search being the biggest contributor to this revenue. In a post last week, I wrote about the projections for desktop ad spend over the next few years. As this spend is already expected to decline naturally, with more users switching to mobile, the likelihood that Google would do anything to risk that is, well, nil.

I wouldn’t worry much about the new Google design impacting your paid search campaigns– after all, there’s plenty of other things that SEMs have on their plate. This, being outside of any of our control, is better left to faith; faith, that if Google did see any large revenue impact in the short-term, they’d make adjustments fairly quickly to remedy the situation.

 

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