Google removed its Right Side Ads from search on 19 February 2016 in an attempt to bring desktop search closer to mobile. The change brought about an instant increase in click-through rate (CTR) for top ad positions, with three out of the four top ad positions seeing an increase in CTR within one week of the change.
Statistics provided by Accuracast show that ads in position four have seen the most benefit since the change – with an increase in CTR of 18.2% – while ads in position three have seen a decline of 5.6%.
With the third ad moving from just above the organic results to sitting in between a block of four, its immediacy has been noticeably diluted as a result. Though lower, it is evident that position 4 is now performing better, which may result in a stronger desire to actually rank lower in the list of paid ads.
Positions 1 and 2 appear to have seen a fairly steady and similar increase, directly resulting from the lack of available ads.
Due to the change in paid ads being so drastic, it is yet to be seen whether or not the CTR statistics will continue to fluctuate, or remain consistent with these initial figures.
We will keep you posted!