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Google Making Ads Less Obvious

Google seems to be playing with the idea of making Adwords ads a bit less obvious to users.  In a 2013 push for “transparency” Google added a little yellow icon next to their ads to try to distinguish them from the non-paid organic results.  Now Google is trying to make the ad icon blend in now by making it green.  I can only imagine that if this turns out to increase CTRs on ads, and therefore make more money for Google, that the change will stick.  We’re only seeing this now in Firefox when signed in with a Google account.  If it really does increase CTRs it’d be really neat to see the results.

The "normal" yellow ad icon that has been displaying since November 2013
The “normal” yellow ad icon that has been displaying since November 2013. It makes it pretty obvious that what you’re seeing is an ad.

 

The new green icon. If this increases CTRs for advertisers it’ll be a good thing, but Google’s motivation is probably to increase revenue from ads. I’m kind of surprised it’s taken this long for them to think of it! So far it’s just a test, but I’ll bet it sticks.