Right rail sponsored ads, bottom sponsored ads and shopping feeds – How do these perform on Google?

In September 2014, Mediative released a new eye-tracking research study, examining the effects of the ever-changing Google SERPs on user behaviour. After the release of this study, we were asked many times about engagement on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) with paid search ads other than just the top sponsored ads – specifically shopping ads. This is what we found:

Google sponsored ads performance

A PDF version of this infographic is also available.

Right rail sponsored ads

The ads that were looked at the fastest, for the longest, and captured clicks were those that had a headline very closely tied to the intent of the search query (perhaps with a location), plus a phone number or address in the ad messaging. For example, these 2 ads were the only top right rail ads to capture a click across the entire study:

This ad captured attention 81% faster than the average for a top right rail ad.

Right rail sponsored ad Google

This ad was viewed for 162% longer than the average for top right rail ads:

Right rail sponsored ad Google2

Bottom sponsored ads

Bottom sponsored ads captured very little attention in general. The average time until they were noticed was 18.20 seconds, however, the following two ads captured attention the quickest (72% faster and 61% faster than average). Interestingly, they were the only ads that were part of multiple ads (2 or 3) rather than a bottom ad by itself. Perhaps the multiple ads together are more eye-catching? These ads headlines were also very closely tied to the intent of the search query.

Bottom sponsored ad Google

Search task: “Imagine that you’re putting together a presentation at work and you need to send the file to a colleague. The file is too big to send by email. Use Google to find a tool that would let you send your large presentation file.”

Bottom sponsored ad Google2

Search Task: “Imagine that you’re putting together a presentation at work and you want to find a motivational video clip. Use Google to find a motivational business video clip for your presentation.”

This was also the bottom sponsored ad that was viewed for the longest amount of time – 117%longer than the average across the study.

Shopping ads

The shopping ads captured attention relatively quickly – half the time of the right rail ads – and were viewed by a larger percentage of searchers. This is most likely because of their positioning above the right rail ads, and also the fact that an image is featured.

The following ad captured attention for the longest – 58% longer than the average for the entire study:

Shopping ads Google

This could be largely to do with the big name brands that are featured in the ads (Sharp and Samsung).

Very few clicks were captured by the shopping ads, but where they occurred was when there was purchase intent in the search query. In this example, the search task was “Imagine that you’re putting together a presentation at work and you want to buy a laser pointer for when you give the presentation. Use Google to find a laser pointer you could buy.”

Shopping ads Google

Key takeaways

  • Very few clicks were captured by the right rail, bottom, and shopping sponsored ads. However, a significant portion of people looked at the ads, therefore, the ads are a cost effective form of brand advertising – the views without paying for clicks. However, be prepared to pay for the click, just in case!
  • Know the intent of your searchers! The more aligned your ad headline can be to the search query, the more likely you are to capture attention, and also clicks from searchers.
Rebecca Maynes
Rebecca Maynes is Mediative’s Manager, Content Marketing and Research. Her expertise lies in the creation of engaging thought leadership for Mediative. From compiling eBooks and case studies, to conducting research, analyzing data and writing white papers and reports, Rebecca is an integral part of Mediative’s Marketing and Research team. Rebecca began her career with Yell.com in England, and, after emigrating to Canada in 2005, she has gone full circle, joining Mediative, a Yellow Pages Group Company, in 2009. Prior positions include Marketing for a B2B Software company. Rebecca graduated from Cardiff University in Wales, UK, with a First Class Honours BSc in Business Administration.