Google has changed again – and Google Instant is a search enhancement that shows search results as you type.  Google reckons we type slowly, but read quickly.  So displaying results on the fly whilst you’re in the middle of typing will improve your searching experience.

Google Instant has set the Internet marketing industry alight…

  • what impact does it have on your search engine rankings?
  • how will in change your customers’ searching behaviour?
  • how will it influence the numbers of visitors to your website?

And of course, Google Instant is having a big impact on paid advertising (PPC) on the Google AdWords advertising network.

How will Google Instant affect your Pay Per Click Advertising?

There is a significant change in the way that Google counts  impressions for an adverts. Impressions are the measure of how many people see your advert, and is essential to Google’s pricing model.

Impressions are counted:

  1. When the user stops typing and the results are displayed for 3 seconds or more, that will be counted as an impression.
  2. When the user starts to type a query and follows this up with a click anywhere on the page.
  3. When a particular search query is chose (by pressing the enter button, clicking the search button or by choosing one of the possible queries from the Google Suggest drop-down)

What could happen here (and the jury is till out on this one) is that you may see a rise in your impressions and a decrease in your click through rates as users have more options open to them before clicking through.

So what implications may this have on your PPC campaign and what can you do in preparation.

1. It is now crucial that you pay particular attention to the Google Suggest drop-down menu in order to not miss out on potential traffic. As an example lets say you run a hotel in Nottingham that offers full wedding services. Presently you may be bidding on the keyword ‘wedding venues nottingham’ (among others) and this keyword bring you lots of traffic and conversions. With Google Instant the user will be able to scroll down the other options offered by Google Suggest and see the results for the other keywords that Google is attaching to ‘wedding venues nottingham’. It makes sense to ensure that you also bid on these other keywords to pull back any traffic that you may loose through this new feature:


Whilst this is good practice anyway, with Google Instant it becomes essential for capturing the users that are going to be seeing the ads for three or four search terms before deciding to click.

2. The second issue to consider is that users are going to be potentially less likely to visit page two of the Google results now that they can scroll through several search queries without having to click. This means that the results that are above the fold on page one of Google are likely to become even more hotly contested. If you are a small company, with little budget, in a competitive niche you may find that this has a negative impact on your PPC campaigns. Because of those results becoming premium you may see the CPC rise for the top spots in your niche.

In summary, you may find you have to adapt your PPC campaign when Google Instant rolls out in the UK fully (you only get it at the moment when you are signed into a Google account).  At least, here in the UK, we will have the benefit of seeing how they deal with it over the pond. As with anything in Internet Marketing you learn to adapt to the changes and then you optimise accordingly.

You can be sure that we will keep you up to date with any issues, problems and solutions that come from the application of Google Instant over in America.


Wayne Barker

Recommended Reading:

How Will Google Instant Impact My SEO?

Learn more about Google Instant

AdWords “Modified Broad Match”: Improve Your PPC Campaign

Adwords Tip: Get More Out Of Your Daily Budget

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