AdWords Yellow Background – PPC Disaster?

    April 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

And so Google AdWords is testing yellow background for paid ads in their search results. Quite a few marketers are happy about it but I find my self saying … “this will lower the CTR”. Quite a few agree;

“Definitely , the light yellow background will help searcher to recognize sponsored results than organic results.”

Now … SEO people should be happy about this. Finally Google will better separate paid ads from organic ads and thus I feel that organic listings will start getting a higher click through rate, but what about paid ads?

Google Adwords Yellow Background

Well ladies and gentlemen, remember those annoying banners? The faster we can spot a banner the faster we ignore it? Did we forget that ads that look like they are part of the content get a higher CTR? Well now Google is identifying those paid ads much better.

Marketers who say that this change will increase the click through rate of a paid ad probably have never tried to make money with AdSense. If they have, they would know better that the more you separate ads from content the less clicks you get.

With the yellow background, paid ads appear as if they are in a banner. At first, Google users will notice the change and maybe we will see a slightly higher CTR (curiosity). But a little later when the new “yellow” is not so new anymore, I expect the click through rate to drop lower than it was.

Here is a person who says exactly what I predict;

“I don’t really now how a non-seo searcher thinks, but this change will stop me clicking the sponsored ads that i was clicking until now by mistake. I prefer clicking SERP results than sponsored ones. The yellow background is much more obvious than the blue one.”

There you go !

Now … Google people are no dummies. I am sure they have thought this out. If they think that by making the background yellow for paid listings will increase CTR, I would be a bit surprised. So why would they make this change?

Google does things either for money OR better usability … that will ultimately result in … more money. To me this change seems to be a usability improvement. Since many, many, many people today still can not identify a paid ad from organic, Google might be implementing this yellow change to tackle this problem.

I will be looking closely at our CTR data with this new change.