Google has confirmed it is now showing three text ads on mobile search results for some queries.
“We regularly adjust the way we present ads, and for a small portion of mobile queries we may expand the space for ads if they are particularly relevant,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, Thursday.
While there are obvious implications for advertisers with this change, what’s interesting is that the addition of a third ad often doesn’t change the amount of ad space visible on the screen compared to when just two text ads are showing. It all depends on what features Google opts to display in the mobile text ads.
First, let’s look at how the display can change even when three text ads are shown. Notice in the left-hand screenshot above for “roofing shingles” has a sliver of an organic listing showing. Now, look what happens on a subsequent search for the same query (in incognito mode). I’ve put the two SERP versions side by side below. The second ad in the incognito SERP (on the right) is shorter, but this time the Home Depot ad is shown with an extended headline and callout and location extensions, bumping the the organic listing out of view.
Now, let’s look at two examples when just two text ads display in the SERP. (The screenshots are from different OS and browser — the left is from Chrome on Android and the right is from Safari on an iPhone, but that’s not why there’s a difference in the amount of ad real estate on the screen.) Two ads take up just as much real estate as three, and again we see the addition of an extension bumping the organic listing out of view.
Of course, while screen coverage may not be dramatically impacted, showing three ads on more mobile queries will have an affect on many advertisers. Andy Taylor from Merkle RKG noted the recent surge in mobile ad impressions and discusses the potential effects three ads in the SERPs will have in his latest column The Early Impact Of Google Adding More Ads To Mobile SERPs.
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