The Changing Face of Google and How It Affects You

18 December 2012Dave Trolle

Google has made significant changes to the way it works over the past 12 months, particularly its advertising platform. I want to take a look at some of the key changes that have affected the way you market your products online. 

Google Going Social

When Larry Page took over as CEO of Google in January 2011, he made it clear that he was keen to make Google more social. It is obviously a hot subject and was a key topic in the recent Google@Manchester conference I attended.

The belief that people are more likely to buy primarily due to recommendations from their nearest and dearest has driven the development of the Google+ product, and the integration of Google+1 recommendation into Google Adwords. Insights from Google’s initial tests show that pay per click (PPC) click-through rates have increased between 5 and 15 per cent from using Social+ ad extensions.

However, the introduction of Google+ has not been all rosy – especially for search marketers. There are clear concerns from the SEO community about what the impact of increased Google+ use will have on identifying trends and insight within natural search listings. If you’d like to learn more, see our latest blog from Gavin Smith, our Head of SEO on the subject of encrypted search.

Product Listing Ads

Product Listing Ads enable a richer creative for retail clients, with thumbnail images, product names and prices appearing within paid search ads. We joined in a beta trial for the adoption of Product Listing Ads and have since seen click-through rates increase by 50 per cent and conversion rates increase by 100 per cent compared to traditional search ads. With the changes planned to Google Shopping in 2013, the opportunity to drive sales for retailers through Product Listing Ads is set to increase. As an online retailer, you will want to have your strategy in place. For more information, see our latest blog on Google Shopping by Adam Chard, our Shopping Comparison Manager.

The position paradigm

The biggest question on every Paid Search specialist’s lips is ‘how should my ads be positioned to drive optimal campaign performance?’ Google have not made this question easy to answer. They have run a number of tests with Google ads in 2012, including the introduction of listings appearing at the bottom of Google’s search engine results page.

One of the most surprising trends we have seen is the number of ads displayed below natural search listings when there is no listing at the top of the page. Luckily our Insights team have been investigating. We’ve looked into what position to operate at for PPC when natural search listings appear on the first page of Google’s search results. And we’ve accessed performance data to ensure we are able to provide the most up-to-the-minute advice to our clients.

If you’d like to learn more, I’ll be looking in depth at a more holistic search approach in my next blog. So, stay tuned.


Dave Trolle

Dave has key channel and sector responsibilities including SEO, Insight and Marketing Technology to ensure Summit's propositions are market leading and driving innovation. Dave also ensures all technology developed and utilised by Summit is cutting edge and adds value both to staff and clients.