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By David O'Daly on 24 Jun 2016

Yesterday while browsing about on the net I saw a highly compelling, relevant, and well placed banner ad that was unmistakably part of the Google Display Network. It was irresistible.

However, when I clicked on it the ad it didn’t bring me straight to the landing page. Instead the ad asked me if I was sure if I wanted to go to the site, thus requiring a second click. 

Whoa. We contacted Google about this for more info and they confirmed that this is part of a Beta. Advertisers cannot opt into this, instead a small percentage of the auctions are automatically opted in. Google also confirmed that the advertiser is only charged for the second click, the one that will actually bring you to the site. That’s all they could say for now.

What Will Be The Impact?

Adding another step between an ad click and a site visit will result in less accidental clicks and so we should see CTR drop (will we also see a drop in placements on spammy-looking websites?). This will also mean less cost incurred by the advertiser, and cheaper CPAs. Great! On the flip side this would mean less Ad revenue for Google. To combat this we might see an increase in CPCs. However, an improvement in quality and performance might draw more advertisers to the platform and could potentially offset any decrease in earnings from individual existing advertisers.

Furthermore, the impact will differ across ad sizes. In another example that was found from a different advertiser on a different site we saw the actual clickable area reduce by 97%!

600 x 300px Banner Ad on the Google Display Network –
clickable area reduced by 97%

Why Are Google Testing This?

For as far back as I can remember one of the major complaints about the GDN is that it is full of really poor quality sites. Not only that, it tends to generate relatively poor quality, albeit cheap, traffic - just look at the bounce rates for some of your Display campaigns (excluding remarketing).

Google has recently been busy addressing this quality problem on mobile devices but no such update was made about desktops. We have only seen this Beta on desktops so perhaps this is the answer?

It’s also important to note that in the last two years we have seen Facebook make major strides in the world of online advertising. Their targeting is superior and Google has seemed to validate this by using Facebook Ads to promote its services. Without doing something about the GDN, Google’s display advertising revenues are likely to suffer as marketing managers shift their budgets to Facebook and other growing networks.

Be found on Google, not Facebook

Will It See The Light Of Day?

As an agency this change would be a welcome improvement to the Google Display Network. It would be very disappointing, and a real slap in the face to advertisers, if they reneged on this update given that we now know the capability exists. This innovation isn’t about a new ad format, or new methods of targeting, it’s simply about quality and transparency. Do we trust Google to “Do The Right Thing”

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