FAQ: Google Tests Showing Click Annotations On AdWords Ads

Yesterday, we first noticed Google Adwords ads displaying click annotations below each ad. After an initial canned response from our Adwords rep, we’ve received a number of FAQs to pass along:

What will ads look like after the change?

Top placement ads will have an annotation on the existing line after the display URL, and side placement ads will have an annotation on a new line above the display URL. The annotation will say, “9,100 clicks to this site” or some variation thereof. Again, please note that this is only an experiment for now.

Why are you doing this?

Google believes that it improves both the user experience and advertiser performance by increasing users’ confidence in clicking on ads from advertisers with which they may not be familiar.

Who is affected?

The experiment will include all advertisers, except those who have opted out or are excluded due to policy requirements. Please note, however, that even if an advertiser is included in the experiment, the annotation will be shown in their ads only a small percentage of the time.

Is it possible to opt out?

Yes. If you want to opt out of the experiment, please contact your Google account team.

Does this affect only ads on Google?

Yes, the annotation will be shown in only ads that appear on Google. Other Google properties (e.g., Google Maps) are not included at this time.

Does this affect ads on mobile devices?

No, the annotation will not be shown in ads that appear on mobile devices at this time. This may change in the future.

Which Google domains are affected?

The annotation will be shown to users in the United States and Canada on www.google.com.

Will Google show the number of clicks received per day?

No. In order to respect data confidentiality, Google will not disclose any number that can be used to infer ad performance. Google will aggregate the number of clicks that you’ve received over an extended period of time and round the number so that data cannot be inferred from this information.

Will the click count be updated daily?

No. The click count will be updated at a lower frequency to prevent it from being used to infer ad performance.

Can competitors use this information to determine performance metrics?

No. The number that is shown will be aggregated over an extended period of time, rounded, and updated only periodically to prevent anyone from being able to use it to determine performance metrics. The purpose of providing this information is to increase users’ trust in your ads.

Will the annotation be shown every time an ad appears?

No. The annotation will be shown only when Google believes that adding the click count will make your ad more relevant to users.

How will this affect new advertisers?

We won’t show annotations in ads that don’t have a sufficient number of clicks. Thus, for new advertisers, ads will continue to be shown exactly as they are today.

How will this affect small advertisers?

Users may be more confident in clicking on ads from smaller advertisers with less well-known brands when they see from the annotation that others have found the ads useful.

Do I need to do anything to participate in this experiment?

No, you don’t need to take any action. Unless you’re excluded from the experiment, your ads will automatically be shown with the annotation.

Will this change impact Quality Score?

The change itself will not directly impact your Quality Score. However, it may affect how relevant users perceive your ad to be, which could result in performance changes (e.g., CTR increases) that can impact your Quality Score.

Will this change impact Ad Rank?

The change itself will not directly impact your Ad Rank. However, it may affect how relevant users perceive your ad to be, which could result in performance changes (e.g., CTR increases) that can impact your Ad Rank.

What are your thoughts on Google’s rollout of click annotations?

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