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Google AdWords testing yellow background on ads above the search results

Since I am handling the paid search side of things for Seodays, Dave & I were discussing the keyword topic areas for screenshots and examples. Ironically, while discussing that, Dave stumbled upon an AdWords test that Google is doing on their AdWords ads. Instead of the usual blue background you usually see with AdWords above the search results, these ads had a yellow background. Screenshot is below, click on the image for the full-sized version.

yellowadwords.jpg

It was only seen once for that query, additional queries reverted back to the usual blue background. Google has always been known to do plenty of testing on a variety of site designs, particularly when it comes to how their ads are displayed, and we have seen plenty of changes made to how AdWords ads are displayed in the search results as a result of these little tests.

I think this background likely will perform better than the blue, as I suspect the AdWords team is testing this color as a test to see if “banner blindless” has begun to take place with the blue, and as you can see in the screenshot, yellow looks dramatically different from the blue, and I am pretty sure it draws more eyeballs when it is seen.

Personally, I like the change. Anyone else?

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16 comments to Google AdWords testing yellow background on ads above the search results

  • I like it quite a bit. Helps separate the search results from paid results more.

    If it goes live, I wonder how it will affect the CTR of the serps…

    G-Man

  • Vic

    I’ve seen them testing red as well – wasn’t sure if it had some other meaning because I haven’t seen it since.

  • From adverstiser point of view it’s a nice change. Ads will be more visible. But the anit google community will complain again.

  • Kev

    Another positive distinction is the numbering of non-sponsored results. Currently, Google’s paid and non-paid results differ by a slight amount of indentation and background color…

    Yahoo already numbers non-paid results. Though, I have doubts that such a tiny difference could prevent accidental clicks.

  • The numbers on the serps are actually from a Firefox plugin… you’d need to ask Dave to find out specifically which one that is, I know he has a collection 😉

  • Personally, I’d love to see results circled in red, mock hand-writing style, with an arrow pointing to it and the message: “These guys paid to be here!”

    Maybe on April 1st?

  • Am I color blind? I see it kinda pale red here…

    I agree with you that such a move made periodically will help in maintaining the CTRs.

    But there is one more aspect. Still a majority of the internet users do not know the difference between the organic listings and the sponsored ones, and that is one reason why Google still is successful in making good money. Such moves now start highlighting the presence of the ads on the search pages, and if these ‘bright’ colors make people notice that these are ads and not actual search listings, chances are that Google might actually start seeing reduced CTRs.

  • Qais Sami

    Definitely , the light yellow background will help searcher to recongize sponsored results than organic results. Also this strong is very strong and show the ads clearly. Maybe this will help Google to increase their paid search CTR since the user trained his/her eyes for long time to ignore that blue area, and with this new color background will open-up user eyes again to sponsored results.

  • Definitely interesting, I like it.

  • Definitely interesting. I like it.

  • MMmm… i hate it.

    Looks wrong…!!

  • Steve

    I actually saw a pink background a few months ago and no one seemed to care when I posted about it in the TechCrunch forums.

  • I have seen something familiar exactly one month ago, but a little orange-ish instead of yellow.

    I don’t like it that much…

  • I would expect this to work.
    With AJAX becoming more popular, more people will become used to seeing the flash of yellow indicating ‘change you need to look at’, so a yellow background of the same colour should work (for a while) to draw people’s attention.
    Of course, its somewhat unethical as you are usurping a reaction developed for a different meaning. Ah, well.
    (I’m assuming its the same yellow typically found in AJAX, of course – can’t really tell… the screenshot looks kinda orange here)

  • Rob Haswell

    Sounds like Google are doing random testing of a wide variety of colours. If I had their traffic this is exactly what I’d do.

  • yellow does mean caution, it would work well for distress type of ads.. i.e. debt relief, bacnkruptcy, pregnancy, lol…

    I thought the light day glo green ones were ok. With those, I tended to look at the ppc ads instead of just skipping down to the first organic result as usual..