There have been reports lately from people who have seen four text ads in Google search results on desktop over the last couple of months. The above image, as an example, you’ll see that there are four paid ads above the organic results. Plus, there are no ads that appear in the right rail of the results. Most of these reports have come from the US.
We know that Google is always doing new things and testing different ways of displaying their ads. Experimenting with four text ads began back in 2010, and currently, it’s been said that the four ads are showing up for only a small number of queries now, and that this isn’t a permanent test.
Even though one would think that displaying more ads would be good for advertisers, but for every additional ad that gets displayed means less real estate for organic results above the fold. So there’s always that trade off that Google has to take into consideration when doing these experiments. With mobile, some have seen two ads often take up the full screen, just as three ads do, depending on the number of ad extensions Google opts to show. For me, I did the same search on “moving company,” and found four ads.
Here is a tweet by Pete Meyers from Moz where he shows that four ads and a mortgage calculator push all of the organic links the fold.
You rank #1 in organic for “mortgage calculators”? That’s adorable — pic.twitter.com/wzOcThu9vQ
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) December 5, 2015
It sounds like the four ads format isn’t going to be rolling out more fully anytime soon, nor do we know how long this experiment is going to last.