Paid Ads Looking More Organic

New Blue Pins

Location extensions became available to AdWords advertisers two years ago as a means to give specific information about the location of the business being advertised. (Read more about location extensions)

The new blue pin that was launched in February 2011 is a new feature on certain ads with location extensions that appear in the top 3 ad positions.  In addition, it will only be triggered if there is a Local Universal map the right side of the search results page. If there is no map, only the standard location extension will be shown.  Whereas before a plus box was used to indicate location extensions, the address is now displayed automatically if other Google Places Listings appear within the top 10 results.

The pin looks just like the red pins that appear for Google Places results. The blue pin will also appear on the Local Universal map along with the Google Places pins. This new marker seems to be a way of making the paid ads stand out a bit more, since Google Places listings may have taken away some of the focus.



Looking More Like Organic

Other recent changes to paid search ads include limiting the Display URLs to lower case only, and headlines being extended to include the first description line. (Read more on extended ad headlines)

These changes, along with the new blue markers for certain ads with location extensions, all make the top 3 ad positions look a lot more like organic search results. No doubt this plays in Google’s favour, as users will probably be more inclined to click on these paid ads, as they are confused with organic results which they may have selected over obvious paid ads. This means more cash from PPC advertisers.

Paid ads looking more like organic results is of course a good thing for online advertisers. An increase in click through rates is probable. However, appearing in the top 3 results has become even more desirable, and this increased competitiveness of being on top is sure to drive up CPC’s (another benefit to Google).

Advertisers who wish to embrace these changes and make the most out of them will need to focus on making sure their ads are eligible to trigger these new ad formats. Another major area of attention is Quality Scores. With competition for the top 3 positions, on the rise, optimizing Quality Scores is more important now than ever in order to make being on top as affordable as possible.

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