For those of you that may not have noticed, Google has gone through a change. Google Instant launched on September 9, and here’s a bit of “Insight” about Instant.
Google Instant is a new feature for Google’s Search Page that, while a user is signed in, loads search results while you type your search in the search box. Google makes an assumption as you type and updates your Search Results accordingly.
Google offers some reasoning for the new feature on their site (Google.com/Instant) and describes:
“Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.”
Google states that this new feature can save you 2-5 seconds while searching. I feel that while at its heart this feature may be for the benefit of Google’s users, there are some problems. First, who cares about an extra 3 seconds. Have we become that obsessed with Instant Gratification that we can’t even type full words?
While the USER (searcher) is one audience to consider in this new feature, there is perhaps a more important audience to worry about. Those people that use Google’s Pay Per Click Advertising Platform, Google AdWords.
As an advertiser myself, and as a business owner that offers PPC maintenance services, I am very concerned with the new feature. To explain things simply, AdWords works of a CPC (Cost Per Click) system. I choose words that I feel are relevant to the services I provide and decide to pay a certain price for them. My position on the page is determined by that price as well as several other features, considered as a whole, to be Quality Score.
Quality score is determined by several features including your CTR (Click Thru Rate). Your CTR is calculated by your Impressions (times your ad is shown) divided by the number of Clicks you receive.
With the introduction of Google Instant, a AdWords advertiser can expect to see a rise in Impressions but a drop in Clicks leading to a lower CTR. This will lead to a higher necessary CPC for a desired position. Basically:
If I am now paying $0.10 to show my ad in position 2, I may see that cost raise.
Google has taken a few initial precautions to try and counter-act this but many advertisers are still concerned.