I had a meeting at Google HQ last week with one of my client’s account management teams and one of the interesting tools currently in Beta that we’ve been invited to trial is the Google Ad Sitelinks.
Currently only advertisers invited and approved by Google can appear but this is sure to be rolled out in the near future. I’ve seen a few articles online but none have really gone into any great detail so I thought I’d mention some of the information Google shared with me.
So what is Ad Sitelinks?
Well to quote from Google’s website (https://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=164778
“Ad Sitelinks is a new feature for search-based ads that lets you include up to four additional links to deeper content on your site beyond the main landing page.
Available to ads that meet our quality requirements, Ad Sitelinks extends the value of your AdWords ads by showcasing additional targeted and relevant links for users whose search queries have triggered your ad. In addition, Ad Sitelinks makes it easy to update and refresh seasonal and limited promotions – you can change the additional links on your ads as often as you like to make each ad more timely for your current sales and marketing efforts.”
My initial reaction was that this is a great idea and given the success that adding Sitelinks to natural search listings had, one that holds obvious advantages to PPC advertisers.
First of all it adds value for a company to add links on generic PPC adverts to relevant sub sections of the target landing page. Secondly for Brand adverts it offers easy navigation to the most popular areas of your website and added exposure to special offers or seasonal campaigns you currently have running.
This all sounds great but there are a couple of factors not mentioned online that determine when these Sitelinks appear.
• Your Ad needs to be in position 1 above the search results.
• Your Ad requires a substantially higher CTR % (click through rate) than any other ad on the page.
Two things immediately spring to mind.
1) Is this tool designed to simply encourage large brands to push up CPCs and ensure visibility in position 1?
Having a PPC advert appear for a generic term with Sitelinks is bound to increase CTR and suddenly becomes a must-have for big brand advertisers operating in competitive markets. This will surely push up already inflated CPCs on high traffic driving generic terms and further diminish the presence of smaller online businesses.
2) What do Google consider to be a substantially higher CTR % than any other ad on the page?
Surely the only adverts that are likely to achieve a substantially higher CTR than any other Ad appearing in search listings are brand terms (and don’t get me started on how changing the Brand Trademark rule supposedly wasn’t just to make Google more money!)
We’re yet to see the results but my client will have these Site Links appearing in the next few days so I’ll report back with my findings in the coming weeks. Meanwhile the question I ask is..
Is this a great addition to Search Engine listings for the user as they will have more choice of landing pages for the most ‘relevant’ result in Position 1. Or, is this simply another way of further increasing profits for the most powerful advertising tool in the world?