Following Google’s announcement that they would be removing sidebar text ads in the SERP back in February 2016, Bing has, once again, decided to follow in their footsteps. As of the 26th March 2018, the #2 search engine (in the UK) no longer shows texts ads in the sidebar.
“This is a development that has only been applied in the U.S. (for now). However, Bing has released a statement stating that “international markets testing to follow at a later time” and it looks like that has already started happening here in the UK. A quick search for trainers from our Swindon office is already only showing ads above the organic results with none to the side.”
Any other changes?
Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) will still be served on the sidebar and the removal of the text ads will make these more visible and eye-catching (well, that’s Bing’s argument anyway). Bing has also increased the number of bottom of the page (BOP) ads from 3 to 4 to allow for “richer ad formats” which the previous sidebar ads didn’t allow for.
But don’t worry, if you are really missing those side text ads then pop over to one of Bing’s syndication partners such as Yahoo and AOL where, for the time-being, sidebar text ads will still show.
What does this mean for advertisers?
In addition to a more up-to-date view of the SERP for users, Bing claims that this change would lead to “overall click gains for [their] advertisers” with an “immaterial impressions impact”.
To give us an indication of how this might affect our clients and other advertisers, it may be best to look at the stats of February 2016. Back when Google made the changes to their SERP layout, we researched the impact on our clients and found that, unsurprisingly, impressions of ads in the “top” positions barely changed but impressions of ads in “other” positions dropped quite significantly:
However, CTR seemed to remain steady as did CPC:
So, although this is a big change for Bing, the negative effects for advertisers are likely to be minor. To read more detailed results of the changes please find our April 2016 blog.
What happens next?
Watch this space for an official statement from Bing to release this development in the UK and if you need help managing your Bing account, or even your Google one for that matter, then drop us a line and find out how we can help you get the most out of your paid search activity.