Google is supposedly testing new advertisements labels. We can see these new yellow labels in place of the previously innocent looking “wolf in sheep clothing” labels that users would often not see, and just click on them thinking it’s one of their search results. Critics of Google advertising strategy now have a bit less to speak about the big-G’s advertising tactics.
Google made ads more clear with the new yellow label as can be seen by the search results above. Google was being accused of trying to make big money while confusing users with low visibility ad labels that would lead many users to click, thinking it’s just one of the search results. The new yellow highlight is now very visible and help users clearly distinguish between sponsored and organic results. While this labeling is looking like an experiment, it most probably would turn permanent, and results are currently varied mainly because not all Google data centers might be updated with this change.
The Google web-spam team had been teaching publishers how not to have too many ads above the fold, and how to keep the user first. However Google itself had been defying it’s own norms by keeping an ad heavy results page, filling it up with ads and sheepishly labeling them with small, hard to read text. Although it has not done away with a heavy top fold, it’s a step forward to label the ads in the right way.
Implications for users and advertisers:
The users are the winners here, you would get to see what you are clicking on more clearly. The differentiation between paid ads and natural results would be clear to you unlike before when the single, sober looking ad label would occupy the top right corner on an entire group of ads. The new one with a label on each of the result is much more clear and prominent. Advertisers get better conversion rates as the users are not clueless when landing upon their websites through Google ads. Users who would otherwise think that they clicked on one of their search results may just close out of the resulting sponsored page, now know before hand where they are going. This would help advertisers with better conversion.
Implications for Google and publishers:
Google would surely see a lower revenue from ads, by how much, is yet to be seen. This is because of the ad-blindness that majority of users have, the more ads you see, the more you ignore them! However, the trust level will increase for Google and this is good for them in the long run. The website publishers will see a lower Click through rate (CTR) as users will easily recognize ads versus on-site links. Some publishers would intentionally mix the sponsored links in such a manner that it would lead a user to click through thinking they are getting to read more content on the same domain.
The internet just got a bit better, with more transparency and honesty from the search giant. This is a welcome change and an example of how publishers and web companies should behave as a whole. It’s time Google implement more of it’s own teachings, to make internet better for the users. Ads are good for survival, but greed has killed a lot of players, big and small. Did we miss any legal trouble that might have done this?