First look: The impact of the PPC SERP change on Bing

On the 16th July, Bing announced they would follow in similar footsteps to Google by getting rid of the right-hand rail ads on desktop devices. What are the changes, and what is the initial impact on search results? Read on to find out.

What were the changes?

The update means the following changes have come into effect:

  1. Text ads will no longer be served on the sidebar, whilst product ads will continue to be served on the sidebar.
  2. Bottom of the page ads increase from three ads to four ads. Moreover, these ads allow for richer ad formats, which sidebar ads didn’t.
  3. This change applies to the Bing search engine results page (SERP) only.  There is no impact for syndication partners including Yahoo and AOL.

Bing’s testing showed that the SERP layout which excluded sidebar text ads drove overall click gains for advertisers, particularly for the existing mainline text ads and product ads. The end result will therefore be less clutter on the SERP and more room for richer ad formats.

Initial results:  Aggregate data across Croud clients

Initial results across Croud’s clients are interesting – position 3 (P3) is the winner!


Data: desktop only, excluded search partners, pivoted around static average positions

Initial results from across Croud’s client base include:

  • Both P1 and P2 lose a bit of click-through rate (CTR); with P3 and P4 seeing boosts in CTR. P5 also sees a massive boost as this now sits under the organic results, rather than being pushed to the side. However,  data is light here currently, which may impact this.
  • We also see the expected impacts on cost-per-click as advertisers push to ensure they stay within the top four slots by inflating their bids. P3 drops slightly, but again this is early days for data so we’re continuing to monitor this for our clients.

We’re only two weeks in, but so far it’s in line with our expectations and we don’t expect to see the drastic performance changes such as those we saw on Google.

Google, whilst removing their right-hand side ads, also increased the top slots from three to four and introduced ETAs (extended text ads) onto the landscape, whereas Bing already has both the fourth slot and ETAs in place.

Bing advises advertisers to continue monitoring campaigns closely for the next few weeks to understand the impact on their performance.

To find out more about the changes, or to speak to one of the team about how we can help you with your search advertising, contact us.

by Conor Kingscott
3 August 2018



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