If you’ve spent any time searching Google recently, you may have noticed a subtle yet important change: Google’s sponsored results label has changed to a bolded “Ad” label and desktop results now feature website favicons.
The changes recently sparked controversy in some corners over what some deem as making it harder to discern between organic and paid results.
Here’s what we know about the change to Google’s ad labeling for search and what it means for advertisers.
New Ad Label Replaces Green Box & URL
Back in May Google released a redesign for mobile search results with a new black “Ad” label and favicons by the URLs for organic search results. Several months after that launch, Google is now rolling out this redesign to desktop.
The black “Ad” label replaces the green outlined label that Google introduced back in 2017. The label now appears at the top of the ad along with the display URL also in the black text above the headline for the first time.
In addition to ad labeling, Google has also changed desktop results to include favicons for organic results. The site name and breadcrumbs appear in black text next to the favicon and both display above the title link in a similar structure to the new text treatment.
Backlash to the new ad label design?
The redesign to the ad label sparked some backlash, with some users on Twitter calling out the change as an attempt to “blur the line between organic results and ads.”
Google responded that its designs are aimed to improve the desktop search experience and that they would continue testing.
No Immediate Impact for Advertisers
We do not anticipate any large impact on any of our clients. As with any SERP change, this will too become our new normal soon enough.
Searchers will get used to this, but in the meantime, we may see changes in traffic because of the favicons at the top and the new interface overall.
We will track CTR changes but we anticipate things will normalize as users adapt to the change.