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Google’s decision to eliminate ads in the right rail early last year has resulted in a substantial rise in click-through rates (CTRs) for the top 4 ad positions on desktops, research from AccuraCast has demonstrated. On average, CTRs for desktop ads in positions 1-4 (now all above the fold) have grown by 49%.

To arrive at its conclusions, AccuraCast looked at 2 million searches during the 12-month periods before and after Google nixed the right-hand ads. The firm notes that expanded ads were introduced in July 2016 after this initial change, with this potentially also impacting CTR, although its early analysis found mixed results.

The click-through rate for the ad in the top position now averages 7.65% (for the 12-month period after February 19th, 2017), up almost 33% from 5.77% during the preceding 12-month average.

While ads in the second position haven’t seen quite as much of a boost, those in the third and fourth positions rose by 72% and 52%, respectively (to 2.2% and 1.64%).

The 5th position, meanwhile, which sits below the fold, saw a modest drop in CTR, from 0.84% to 0.78%.

In other Google search ad news, Merkle recently reported that Google product listing ads (PLAs) on desktops enjoy conversion rates 30% higher than comparable text ads.

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