A new study shows that click through rates (CTR) have increased significantly for desktop ads at the top of the search results since Google removed ads in the right column last year.
In February 2016, Google eliminated text ads from the right column of the desktop search results (See Big Google News! More Ads at the Top of Search Results”). In a new study a UK agency analyzed 4 million searches over the 12 months before the change and for 12 months after the change and compared the CTR for text ads in top 5 positions.
Overall CTR has risen 49% for the top 4 ads.
The biggest gains have been for the ads in positions three and four which have seen CTR increases of 72.4% and 51.9% respectively.
The big CTR increase for ads in position 4 make perfect sense. Before the change Google showed up to 3 ads at the top of the page. Ads in position 4 were shown in the right column of the page. Now ads in position 4 are usually show at the top of the page which explains the large increase in CTR.
A real surprise, which has been reported since almost immediately after the change, is that ads in the 3rd position got the biggest boost from the new desktop search engine results. This new study shows a 72.4% increase in CTR for ads in position 3!
However ads in position five have actually seen a decrease of 7.6% since the change. Before the change those ads where in the right column near the top of the page. Now ads in position 5 appear at the bottom of the page, below all the other results such as the organic listings. This has lead to a decrease in clicks.