Previously AdGooroo examined the impact of Google eliminating paid search text ads from the right rail of its results page on Retail keywords and Travel keywords. Today we turn our attention to the Automotive category.
We analyzed changes in the number of advertisers, cost per click and clickthrough rate for 20 top Automotive keywords on U.S. Google desktop text ads based on Paid Search spend, from February 1 through February 18 compared to the period from February 19 (the day we started seeing significant changes on Google’s right rail) through March 19.
Number of Advertisers
The number of advertisers sponsoring the Top 20 Automotive keywords dropped by an average of 4% after Google eliminated ads on the right rail of its results page, from an average of 115 advertisers per keyword from February 1 through 18 to an average of 107 advertisers per keyword from February 19 through March 19. The terms ‘mazda’ and ‘jeep cherokee’ experienced the largest decrease in sponsors, -33% and -24%, respectively.
The average drop in advertisers for the Top 20 Automotive keywords appears to confirm conventional wisdom that fewer advertising opportunities would mean fewer advertisers in the post-right rail era. However, not all of the Top 20 Automotive keywords saw a decrease in advertisers. The number of advertisers sponsoring the keyword ‘honda crv’ increased by 41%–the biggest change for any keyword—in the month after Google eliminated right rail ads. (Interestingly, the nearly identical—but differently spaced—term ‘honda c r v’ decreased in advertisers by 16%). The keyword ‘audi’ also increased its advertisers by a double digit percentage, jumping by 17% in the post-right rail period.
Five other Top 20 Automotive keywords increased in advertisers from February 19 through March 19 as well, including ‘cars’ (13.89%), ‘ford’ (8.57%), ‘subaru’ (4.88%), ‘hyundai’ (4.76%), ‘jeep renegade’ (1.54%) and ‘nissan’ (1.49%).
Cost Per Click
Cost Per Click for the Top 20 Automotive keywords increased by an average of 4.01% after Google cut its right rail ad space, but there was great variance on this metric as well. Seven of the Top 20 Automotive keywords increased in Cost Per Click by double digit percentages, including three Jeep terms: ‘jeep wrangler’ (40.39%), ‘jeep cherokee’ (31.7%) and ‘grand jeep cherokee’ (26.53%). At the same time, however, half of the Top 20 terms actually experienced a decrease in Cost Per Click, including ‘hyundai’ (-17.48%), ‘subaru’ (14.95%), ‘honda civic’ (-12.7%) and ‘jeep’ (-10.55%).
In perhaps the most notable finding of the study, Clickthrough Rates for the Top 20 Automotive keywords increased by an average of 13.1% after Google eliminated ads from the right rail of its results pages. The largest increases in CTR were experienced by the terms ‘lexus’ (35.71%), ‘hyundai’ (28.57%), ‘honda crv’ (25%), ‘nissan’ (24.39%) and ‘jeep grand cherokee’ (20%).
None of the Top 20 Automotive keywords decreased in Clickthrough Rate, although CTR for three of the terms remained flat between the two periods (‘audi’, ‘ford explorer’, ‘jeep cherokee’).