Google began playing around with the “Ad” label on Google.com for a little over two years now. Beginning February 2017, Google utilized green text and a green border to delinate text ads from organic listings in the search results. Now, they seems to be testing something more subtle.
On Wednesday, UK-based marketing consultant Darren Taylor, who runs The Big Marketer, spotted “Ad” labels with bolded black text and no border. this label appears at the top of the ad with the display URL appears next to it.
Spotted on Google (Chrome on mobile) yesterday. They seem to be testing a new way of showing ads (a sneaky way) I couldn’t get them to trigger again.#PPC #ppcchat @sengineland @sejournal pic.twitter.com/ercxNMZIcS
— Darren Taylor (@thebigmarketer) March 13, 2019
There are those in the EU region who also spotted the color change.
When Search Engine Land reached out for comment, a Google spokesperson said, “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our users and advertisers, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called on search engines because they want ads to be more easily seen as such. It suggested prominent shading, a prominent border or both. It was that year that Google moved away from background shading and introduced an “Ad” label with a yellow background.