Today we have a post from one of our PPC Hero allies! James Zolman (@jameszol) is a guest author at He is the founder and CEO of, a quality score analysis, optimization and consulting company. In this post he looks at Google’s use of click data in PPC ads.

It’s not a surprise to hear that Google is testing ad layout, SERPs styles and more but this one caught me by surprise for a number of reasons:

  • SearchEngineLand wrote about this in June but I have not seen it surface elsewhere since then and even that post seems to have had little buzz considering the consequences of such a test
  • This appears to be in a different location compared to the screenshots in the SEL article
  • The text/copy of the click count is slightly different than what is in the SEL article too
  • This test adds a huge, obvious line of “copy” to the ad: “6,630 clicks for this search” to the right of the display url
  • The number and the word ‘clicks’ are bold but have no relation to the query
  • The number of clicks displayed plays heavily toward long term advertisers or old advertiser accounts (maybe)
  • The crowd mentality is a huge sales factor and will definitely swing clicks one way or another
And then come the questions about the consequences of such a test:
  • Where is the click count coming from…display url, root destination url, destination url as a whole…the whole ad?
  • This could be a huge play to improve click through rates but will it improve sales?
  • Does this mean that an entire ad should stick around for the long haul if it performs well (if this metric is attached to an ad id)?
I contacted AdWords and here is all they could say about it as of this post:
The experiment that you were asking about, is actually
something that all of our advertisers have been opted into, unless they
requested to be opted out. †However, the reason you are not seeing it that
often is because it only affects each advertiser a very small percent of
the time, and only on a few ads.
I would love to know what you think!