Impact of Yellow Google Ads & Click Through Change on CTR & Sales

Apr 16, 2007 • 8:29 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

About a week and a half ago Google Turns AdWords Yellow & Changes Click Behavior. In short, Google changed the top sponsored results background color from blue to yellow and only counted a click of that ad if it was on the title of the ad itself.

I wanted to wait a bit to see how this may be impacting advertisers. I have some information for you now.

A WebmasterWorld thread has continued discussion on the impact.

One member named lynnemezine said that they are seeing "both a decline in CTR on all ads and fewer clicks on any positioned T1-T3." He is frustrated because he doesn't know if the drop off is due to the yellow background or the change in click behavior required to be taken to the advertiser's page.

Advertiser, "Israel," said that although his clicks are down "quite a bit" his sales remain the same. This member is happy about the click through change, because it drops the number of "accidental" clicks on those ads - which I personally agree with.

SanDiegoChicken said that he has seen a "20% drop in CTR, across 12+ campaigns with over 400,000 impressions this month.

Overall, it appears there are now less clicks in those top ad spots. The big question is why? Is it due to the ad color change or the click behavior change or both? Everyone agrees that CTR is lower, which does impact one's ad ranking in AdWords. But are sales less?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Sitemaps Ping URLs at Google, Yahoo, &


Brian Rants

04/16/2007 02:29 pm

As a matter of philosophy, I am always in favor of configuring advertisements so they avoid "accidental clicks." That is why I cannot stand these new ads that expand into the content of the page when you accidentally move your mouse over them. It is fine if you clicked on the ad, but not if you were just moving your mouse up to your address bar, for example. At any rate, I would be very interested if someone could quantify how much of the drop in CTR is due to the color, and how much to the change in clickable area. Not sure if that is possible though.


04/16/2007 09:23 pm

In theory yellow should get a higher CTR, but I'm curious if the yellow makes the ads look too much like ads. One of the things I liked about the blue background was that the ads kind of looked like organic results (at least to noobs).

Otis Gospodnetic

04/18/2007 02:24 am

Ads are more obvious -> no accidental clicks -> roughly equal sales & lower advertising costs -> more advertisers for Google. No? Just an on-the-fly guess.


04/24/2007 03:25 pm

yeah, in theory yellow should get a higher CTR because yellow is most often seen first by users... but i think it depends upon the color yellow. the brighter the yellow, i would think, the more often it's noticed. this is a pale, pastel yellow, it's probably over looked.

blog comments powered by Disqus