Google did it again. Actually twice in just a few months.
Like a wife who rearranges all the furniture just when you finally get used to where everything is (such is my life), Google is making changes again.
Here is why you need to pay attention this time: these changes will likely affect your business’ ability to generate leads online. And they will impact you whether or not you advertise on Google (AdWords).
So let’s cut right to the chase. Here’s a look at the three big changes that could impact B2B lead generation and the way you market your business online...
1. Your Company’s Visibility in the Search Results
Google has done away with ads in the right side of the search results.
In addition, they have added one more ad at the top of the search results page (a possible total of 4 instead of 3) and three more ads at the bottom.
Why is Google doing this? Some would conclude greed is the motive. But, Google actually recognizes the need to accommodate for changes in user behavior. More and more people (over half, in fact) are conducting searches on a mobile device, which has a smaller screen. The new layout will look better and more uniform across all devices.
How this will impact advertisers:
What does this mean for you if you advertise on Google?
- A potential increase in costs. Google has reduced the total number of ads on a page from 11 to 7 (plus 3 of the 7 ads are now listed at the bottom of the search results). There will be more advertisers fighting over the top 4 slots, which will likely push up the cost per click.
- A potential loss of traffic. If you have a poorly designed and poorly executed campaign (with a low quality score) and you’re competing against other advertisers for these limited spots, you may very likely find yourself stuck on page 2… with little to no traffic coming from your ads.
- Some advertisers will see a significant traffic increase. Approximately 85% of ad clicks were previously on ads in the top 3 positions, with only 15% on the side ads. If you do choose to advertise in the top 4 spots (especially when you previously were advertising in position 4 or lower), you will see a significant increase in the amount of traffic coming from your ad. You may pay a little more, but you can expect to see a strong increase in results.
How this could impact non-advertisers:
What does this change mean if you rely on the organic (free) search results for business/traffic visibility?
Unfortunately, your potential visibility might be reduced.
Here’s why: Since Google is using more of the top space for ads, it pushes everything else down. Searchers will now have to scroll down below the fold to find the top 10 organic results. Many searchers won’t even make it down to your listing (even if you are, in fact, on page 1) but will instead choose an easily visible option.
Bottom line: Advertisers on Google need to be prepared to spend a little more. But on the up-side, they could possibly be receiving a lot more traffic (if they have a well-optimized campaign). Non-advertisers who rely on organic listings for competitive keywords need to double their efforts to boost their visibility and/or consider augmenting their efforts with some paid search (where it is easier to control your visibility). Unfortunately, these latest changes from Google only accelerate the need for businesses to rely on professional help to get found on Google.
2. Your Ability to Attract the Right Prospects
If you do any advertising on Google, ad layout changes recently announced by Google will greatly help your ability to attract more of the right prospects.
In a typical ad, you have a limited number of characters to (a) get someone’s attention, and (b) persuade them to choose you. The new format will now provide you with more characters, as well as a better arrangement:
- Instead of a single, 25-character headline, you now have 2 headlines (which can be combined), for a total of 60 characters.
- Instead of two lines to add details (70 characters total), you now have 80 characters… and you don’t have to find a way to say things in 35 character blocks).
Why this is a good change:
With more characters to use, in a more convenient layout, you’ll be able to create more fluid messaging that improves the chances of persuading the right prospect.
In early testing, Google has seen the new format impressively increase the response rate on ads… by as much as 25%.
Bottom line: You will have a greater ability to communicate a more complete message to your best possible prospects. This should also reduce the amount of wasted clicks you pay for after visitors read your ad and click, even when they aren’t sure you’re offering what they need.
3. Better Able to Account for In-Store Conversions Due to Your Online Efforts
When you sell or promote things online, you’re able to track your efforts all the way to the point of sale (or becoming a client/customer). But it has been very difficult to attribute in-store traffic and sales to online efforts.
Google is now able to help more businesses connect the dots between the digital and physical worlds by measuring in-store conversions. This is huge because approximately 90% of sales happen in a brick and mortar store.
How is Google able to do this?
Google simply looks at phone location history (via gps and online cookies) to determine whether the person who searched and clicked on your ad ended up walking into the store.
One example of correlating this connection: Nissan UK discovered 6 percent of people who clicked on their ads later went to the dealership. The result was a 25x ROI.
Bottom line: Though this may have a great impact on the B2C business landscape, if you run a more traditional street-side store front, you will soon be able to quantify your ROI from online lead generation efforts. No more guessing, or assuming it is working.
Which of these new Google changes excite you? Or make you nervous? Why? Let us know!