Google Ad CTR Goes Up After Removal Of Authorship Photos

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Google made the decision late last month to remove authorship photos from search results. This led to speculation that the decision was made as a result of the impact of authorship photos on the CTR of paid search ads.

Larry Kim,  CTO at Wordstream, set about looking for evidence to support this theory. Larry recently published his findings in a new report.

In the report, Larry examined the CTR of a search ad before and after Google’s announcement. Evidence was found that the CTR of the search ad he examined went up significantly when author photos were no longer displayed in the search results.

The CTR of the ad went up by 44.8% after authorship photos were removed. Larry adds that the data was tested rigorously, and the difference is statistically significant with 99% confidence due to the high number of daily ad impressions for the particular keyword (the keyword he tested was “negative keywords”).

Larry summed up his findings in a statement provided to Search Engine Journal:

We know that product listing ads draw attention and clicks because of the images, so it would stand to reason that the removal of author photos from organic search results would have the opposite effect. Many suspected that this was the case – now we know for sure.

For more details, see the full report published on Wordstream’s blog.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • http://www.thinkdifferentzone.com/ Sudhanshu Raghav

    So i must remove my authorship photo to increase my CTR!! Thanks for sharing. Nice Post!!

    • nickswebworks

      mmmm. no. read the article again.

    • http://blog.technicalsupporttoday.com/the-rise-of-tech-support/ Karan Rawat

      Heads up to your brain! 😀 you dont have to remove your authorship photo google is removing them to get revenue from advertising.

      • http://komacimarketing.com Chris Karuso

        haha. Funny. I’m glad. Those pictures were distracting. I noticed my own subconscious behavior getting distracted by the authorship photos from reading the search results I was looking for. — squirrel — Also I felt that I was looking at the PPC display even less. Good call. Actually I’m impressed Google is able to back track on this.

  • http://www.whitehat.cz Jan Mares

    There is no doubt that organic results accompanied with author’s photos draw way too much attention away from paid ads. This step will increase Google’s revenue from AdWords, leaving authorship a redundant feature, I believe.

  • John

    Whether it’s about money or something else, I don’t care, I’m glad they are gone! Google was looking like a complete mess with images for shopping results in the top left (which rightfully should have images) and then those useless authorships photos which amount to nothing. Photos here and photos there it was horrendous, at least no it’s much nicer on the eyes again, organic results look nicely different from shopping (product) results. Well done Google, thumbs up!

  • nickswebworks

    for a service business, where trust is an issue, those author photos were golden. Especially for me, a web designer that sells on-page seo. when my pic was at the top of SERP, biz was very good. I mean, the proof is in the pudding right? That sold my deal better than anything!
    But as it is with the wild, wild web, many bad guys would post fake authorship using attractive female avatars as bait for some spammy BS, so…
    but yeah, the increased CTR in AdWords was def a consideration for the bean counters. Whatever lame excuse they could come up with to get more $$$.
    Google is a fickle mistress and becoming more ruthless and evil as time goes on, even if you do everything RIGHT
    (yeah, I know. I’m kinda new at this, since March, 2010)