Why are Google ads getting more hits?

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The answer could be, of course, that we’re getting better at our jobs. That’s what we keep telling ourselves, and there is certainly some truth to it. But if you want to know why pay-per-click (PPC) ads are getting not just a few but way, way more clicks on Google than two years ago, you need to look past the limitless talents of the online marketing community.

If you think back to a few years ago, Google didn’t look radically different from how it looks now. Its simple, consistent designs are central to the company’s brand strength. But there have been notable tweaks over the years, including a subtle change to the way Google ads appear on the site. They’ve become more like organic search results, although it’s hardly noticeable. And therein lies the key to their success.

When you trawl through old versions of Google, you can see that in 2011, the AdWords at the top of the search results had a makeover. The easy-to-spot blue box that screamed ‘ignore me!’ in which the ads appeared became a light yellow hue barely distinguishable from the other results’ white background. The text was no longer in bold, so it also blended perfectly into the organic search results. All in all, the PPC ads looked more like a part of the search results than an intrusion.

And it worked wonders, netting more clicks for advertisers and (naturally) more money for Google. When the Search Engine Journal analysed their click-through rates in 2012, they saw that their AdWords received more than double the number of clicks per page-view compared with 2011, before the changes took hold. Since then, the click rate of AdWords has stayed high as a result of the smart new changes which integrate organic and paid results more effectively.

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