How Google Instant Has Affected the Pay Per Click Market


On November 9, 2010 Google launched its new Instant Search option allowing Google users to preview a site before deciding to click on it. There has been a lot of speculation on how this will affect Internet Marketers. Being a Pay Per Click (PPC) specialist myself, it got me thinking. If you’re familiar with ProspectMX and our PPC services, it would be no surprise to you when I say that PPC is a highly effective tool for most clients. It has the ability to generate instant targeted traffic to your site from users who are actually looking for your service. And, since you’re only paying for the traffic that actually ends up on your site, your ad can display as many times as your budget would allow.

How has Google Instant changed the way we view search results?

With the introduction of Google Instant, there have been subtle changes in the PPC world. When someone searches using Google Instant, it opens up a drop down preview box with all the possible suggestions. During the initial launch there were many downsides to this. For example, once the preview was opened, sponsored links in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place were obscured behind the preview, hiding it from a potentially interested user. Furthermore, the search results and ads changed as the user typed in lengthy long tail keywords. For example, if I’m searching for “paint ball locations in New York” Google search will display ads for “paint” as soon as the word is typed in and then change accordingly as the user entered the rest. Due to this, your ads were potentially displaying for keywords that have no relevance to your campaign.

Since the launch of Google Instant, Google has been very busy tweaking the system to make it more amicable to PPC clients. Google has fixed the glitch of the overlapping preview box so that now when you type in a keyword, all the search results move down in full view as well. Google has also stated that unless the users stay on the page for more 5 seconds or the user clicks on search or presses enter, the impression will not count. Considering that most users complete searches in mere seconds, this eliminates the initial concern of having unwanted impressions in your campaign.

How has this affected Pay Per Click?

Even though initially it seemed that Instant was rather detrimental to PPC clients, it seems that things have turned around. With the changes Google has made since the launch it’s my opinion that Google Instant may actually help PPC clients in the long run. One of the reasons why is because when a user searches with a particular keyword, the ads that used to get hidden are now the point of attention on the page itself. This allows ads that are in 1st or 2nd spot to have more visibility and drive more traffic to the site. Historically, the 1st or 2nd spot for any keyword were not that coveted, however with Google Instant, this may change.

My opinion is to run your PPC campaigns as usual. Even though there have been many developments with Google Instant, it’s still in its infancy and I believe there are many more improvements to come. Many PPC campaigns can be optimized to start displaying ads in the 1st or 2nd spot and long tail keywords would need to be carefully monitored to see if there are too many impressions. These suggestions should help you get a better Click thru rate and hopefully conversions as well. In the end, the success of a PPC campaign always depends on the amount of work you put into it.