In today’s edition of “What in the Google?” – introducing Carousel Ads. While Google is constantly making changes to it’s Google Ads platform, this latest update has left us extremely intrigued. 

What Are Google Carousel Ads?

Previously, Google allowed a maximum of 4 ads to be displayed vertically on mobile searches and you would only pay when a user clicked on your ad.

Now, Google is showcasing even more ads in a Carousel (horizontal) format, where searchers can swipe to see additional ads. Marketers would still only pay if a user clicks on the Ad; however, SMB Team believes there will be much more competition to get above the Ad Carousel. 

The Carousel Ads that we are seeing in the bottom of mobile search results are appearing under a headline of “people also search for”. Right now, it’s appearing to be the same advertisers that show up on the top of the page on mobile.

Shopping ads have appeared in a Carousel format for some time now. Discovery ads can also be shown in a Carousel Ad format.

Why Is Google Introducing Carousel Ads?

In late 2019, SMB Team began speculating about Google’s intentions and the direction of its Google Ads platform.

On September 30, 2019, Google sunsetted its Average Position metric that had long been a part of the platform. In its place, Google introduced Absolute Top and Top Impression share metrics.

Overall, in 2019, there were four major changes, in quick succession, to Google Ads that we believe may be correlated to the changes in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) that we are currently seeing.

In addition to sunsetting Average Position, Google also changed location settings, removed accelerated delivery, and introduced close match variants to all keyword match types. The introduction of close match variants, SMB Team believes, was done to allow smart bidding and A.I. to work without interference. However, this removed huge advantages to campaign structure.

We are also speculating that many of the changes we are currently seeing are likely related to smart bidding and Google’s push towards automation. 

How Will Google’s Carousel Ads Impact Your Law Firm PPC Campaigns?

The introduction of Carousel Ads are just one piece to the overall puzzle for changes that Google is making to their Google Ads platform.

While naturally, competition is inherently higher (more ads = more competitors), it may also become an advantage for your law firm.

Law firm PPC campaigns that aren’t set up properly, or optimized for these new changes may result in lower performance.

Other Changes to Keep In Mind

It gets even wackier – when performing some searches, our team found that the top Google Ads results on the search results page didn’t even show on desktop. In their place, Google’s Map Pack was the first search result.

While this was always true for some (lesser searched) industries and services, Ads always popped up at the top of the search results page for lawyers and legal advertisers.

Want to learn how to prepare for these changes? Download our Free Guide: “3 Tips to Prepare For Carousel Ads on Google”.

Want Our Carousel Ads Tip Sheet? Download it below!

Our POV on Why Google Is Introducing Carousel Ads:

Google is constantly keeping us on our toes, and if you follow the crumbs, you’re able to put the entire cookie together. Here are some of our current musings as to why Google introduced Carousel Ads:

Is Google trying to monetize SEO?

Is the push towards showing the Map Pack higher on the search results page and squeezing more ads together at the bottom of the page a sign that they value local search and SEO more?

Is Google trying to create its own version of a “table rush” to push YouTube Ads?

By creating more competition (having more ads on the first page of Google with Carousel Ads0, are they trying to push long-time advertisers to other Google-owned mediums such as YouTube?

Will our cost-per-click for these Carousel Ads go up since more competitors will be able to participate in the PPC Auctions?

Is this a sign that Google is pushing and favoring a mobile-first strategy?

Are they no longer seeing strong traffic and leads from both Desktop and Tablet Ads?

Our Director of Paid Search, Anthony Higman, notes:

“I think the majority of searches now take place on mobile devices. However, all devices are still valuable as search patterns vary widely per device. While mobile searches make up a large majority of traffic, it leans towards micro-expression type searches and on-the-go. For example, most mobile searchers don’t search in complete sentences. Instead, they tend to quickly search phrases. I still think a comprehensive strategy across devices will be necessary but enhancing our visibility on mobile.”

Will Google Maps Ads now be available for bid adjustments?

Currently, we can not control when Ads show up in Google’s Map Pack. We do believe that there may be an opportunity to control this in the future with both device and location bid adjustments.

Putting The Pieces Together

As Google continues to introduce new features to the Google Ads platform, we will be adjusting our legal marketing clients’ Ads accordingly.

Strategy changes are imminent – what exactly those changes will be is to be determined. Regardless, we’ll be ensuring that the settings on all of our law firm PPC campaigns are appropriate for each campaign goal, and we’ll be closely monitoring performance for a better ROI.

At the SMB Team, we keep our noses to the ground – constantly hunting for the next update to Google Ads that will affect our clients’ PPC campaigns.

No one knows what is on the horizon for Google and what all of these changes mean for the future of your Ad campaigns.

Some of these trends could be temporary while others become permanent (if testing shows positive results). Because of this rapid momentum, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date and informed.

Want to learn how to prepare for these changes? Download our Free Guide: “3 Tips to Prepare For Carousel Ads on Google”.