Will Google’s 2017 new AD icon increase clickthrough rate? Paid clicks increased 40% in 2016!

Mar 2, 2017

Google has just changed its ad tag icon on its search engine result pages (SERP) again, across its desktop and mobile interfaces. The new icon looks simplified with a green text font and transparent background.

In June 2016, Google goes green by introducing a green ad icon. They say, “We regularly test ways to improve the look and feel of our search results page. We’ve been experimenting with a green search ad label and have decided to roll it out based on positive feedback from users and advertisers. Our goal is to make our results page easy to use, and our labeling clear and prominent.” (Source: Search Engine Land). However, we would not believe if it’s not driven by the intention to potentially boost its clickthrough rate (CTR).

From Alphabet’s 2016 annual report, its revenue from Google Properties increased from $52,357 million in 2015 to $63,785 million in 2016. Its paid clicks increased by a huge 40% in 2016. They say that “the growth was primarily driven by increases in mobile search most notably due to ongoing improvements in ad formats and delivery launched during 2016.” (Source: Alphabet Annual Report). While we do not know how many percent of the growth could be attributed to the then newly commissioned green ad icon, we think that it is certainly helpful as green represents “harmony” in conventional design principles. It is not as sharp or obvious as yellow and people might unconsciously click on it, not realising that it is an ad.

Back to the brand new ad icon in 2017, it is even less sharp and ubiquitous than the 2016’s green icon. We don’t know whether it is still a test or it is already official. However, there are still a lot of people who feel reluctant to click on an ad and this new ad design will be useful for both Google and marketers.

We are waiting to see if the new ad icon will increase Google’s clickthrough rate (CTR) for 2017. What’s your take?


(Opinion by Epitomist)