Google have confirmed that they are indeed rolling out changes globally to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) which will see ads on the right hand side completely disappear.
They’ve hinted (and we’ve seen this over the past few months) that for the more commercial queries (e.g. insurance or hotels) they will show 4 ads above the organic results, but typically will only show 3.
Here’s what a Google spokesperson had to say about the changes:
We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries…we’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.
For us the immediate knee-jerk reaction we’re expecting to see is unfortunately a spike in CPCs as advertisers now all vie for the top 3 ad positions. Bad news for CPAs but good news for PPC agencies like us as we love a new challenge. We’re excited to test out our theories on our existing clients!