5 Things Every Apartment Marketer Needs to Know About the Recent AdWords Changes

by | Feb 25, 2016

Over the weekend, Google eliminated the ads section that formerly appeared on the right hand side of the Search Engine Results Pages. The sudden and unexpected change has caused a ton of speculation on how advertisers, businesses, and users will be affected. In order to quell the concerns of apartment marketers, we took the liberty of answering five common questions we’re currently hearing from our clients.

What’s different?

Prior to last weekend, most non-branded apartment searches returned pages where paid ads were featured above, below, and to the right of organic (or non-paid) results. The paid ads that were featured to the right of organic results are no longer present.

In addition to removing the right hand side ads, Google has also increased the number of paid ads that appear at the top of searches from three to four. And to make things even more difficult for marketers, this fourth ad has effectively shifted organic listings below the fold, making them less visible to users.

Why would Google make these changes?

Google is constantly refining the appearance of the SERPs. And aside from the people at Google, nobody can say with 100 percent certainty why this change was made. However, there are a few theories.

Many search engine marketers believe the decision to remove the side ads was financially motivated, as less paid search real estate drives competition among advertisers, forcing them to place higher bids which subsequently result in more revenue for Google. Others argue that the decision was made in order to make the desktop search experience more similar to the mobile search experience.

Will my AdWords campaign become more expensive?

As we just mentioned, the elimination of the right hand side ads will increase competition as advertisers fight to hold the most visible listings at the top, rather than the least visible listings at the bottom of the page. However, it’s still too early to tell if that’s how things will unfold. It’s highly possible that many marketers may overreact, overbid, and overspend their daily budget early in the day, allowing the more restrained marketer the chance to grab more traffic later on in the day at a discounted bid price.

Does the change affect all devices?

The change will only affect desktop devices, as the mobile version of Google never had right hand side ads because of screen size restrictions. On a related note, it’s worth mentioning that a majority of searches are conducted on mobile devices. So while changes to the desktop version of Google are significant, a larger portion of paid search will remain the same.

How should apartment marketers adjust their strategies?

As we previously mentioned, it’s important for apartment marketers to avoid overreacting to the change this early. However, as we begin to gain a better understanding of the effects, your strategies may need to pivot accordingly. Our apartment PPC experts will be standing by to keep you updated throughout the transition.


Photo Credit: Google AdWords logo by Martin Lafrance via Flickr CC by 2.0