Anyone who uses Google to search (pretty much the entire world right?) has probably noticed something different at the top of most Google search results lately.

Google Sponsored Links Go Purple

Image Courtesy of McDonald's

If you are one of the few that hasn’t, well then it may be time to get your eyes checked because Google Sponsored Links has gone purple. Or is it pink?

In any case, the traditional pale yellow background of Google sponsored links is a thing of the past as of late July. So instead of being the 800 lb gorilla of search, I think it may be more appropriate to call Google the 800 lb blob of search in ode to the character in the image on the right.

Nonetheless, changing the background color of Google sponsored links for AdWords ads can have a significant impact on AdWords advertising, both for the positive and negative.

Pros of Purple Google Sponsored Links

Increased Attention

The purple background of Google sponsored links is easily more eye-catching than the old pale yellow background. Will this translate into AdWords ads stealing traffic from organic search results? I have a feeling the answer will be yes. This should also result in not only increases in click through rate but conversion production too.

Since increased attention can impact so many statistics and other areas, that’s all I got for pros. I urge you to leave your own pros in the comments section of this blog post though.

Cons of Purple Google Sponsored Links

User Hesitancy to Click on Ads

There are many users out there that hesitate when it comes to clicking on any kind of online advertisement, whether it is an AdWords ad, banner ad, or Facebook ad. Of course there are still plenty of users who don’t care whether a link is an ad or not. Otherwise I’d be out of a job. The real question is what percentage of users who click on Google sponsored links actually know they are clicking on an ad?

When the pale yellow background was in place, there was a less noticeable difference between AdWords ads and Google organic search results than there is now with the purple background. So in essence, the idea of an eye-catching color can backfire on click through rates and conversions if the percentage of users who actually care whether they click on an ad or not and now recognize AdWords ads as such is significant.

Stealing Attention from AdWords Ads on Right Side

Google Increases Revenue

Dr. Evil Image Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Typically AdWords ads in the top 3 positions generate higher click through rates than those on the right side but will the difference be even greater now that the top 3 positions have a more eye-catching color than before? If conversion production follows suit, it could become increasingly important for advertisers to bid accordingly in order to consistently display AdWords ads in the top 3 Google sponsored links positions. This obviously increases competition for those positions which in turn increases cost per click which in turn puts more money into Google’s pockets. Is this the underlying diabolical reason for Google changing the background of sponsored links to purple?

My Own Take

Personally, I think the purple background of Google sponsored links is going to translate into higher click through rates for AdWords ads in the top 3 positions. In addition, I do also see those top 3 positions being even more important now that the visual and psychological difference between ads with a purple background and those with a white background (on the right side) is even greater. Thus, competition is likely to increase for positions 1 through 3 resulting in higher cost per clicks. Only time will tell if Google’s decision to change the sponsored link background color from pale yellow to purple will affect AdWords performance though.

What are your thoughts on Google sponsored links changing from pale yellow to purple?

Have you seen any changes in performance yet?

Do you see some pros and cons of the change that were overlooked in this blog post?

If you have answers, ideas, or opinions to any of these questions let me know your thoughts in the comments section…. or else I’ll get Grimmace after you.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and is filed under Pay-Per-Click.

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