Mr. Marketing: Don’t blink – you’ll miss the link

By Rob Weinberg

When wearing my research hat, I spend lots of time on Google seeking reference for websites, newsletters, and the like.

This has caused me to be exposed to a steady diet of advertising on the right and top of the screen — ads that are sold at auction for everything from stuffed aardvarks to zebra-striped shirts.

The sheer volume of advertising has been increasing lately — probably due to the improving economy. And as I’ve noticed these increases, I’ve observed an interesting evolution.

Apparently — and very quietly — Google has introduced what I call “The hiccup” as a way of boosting advertiser traffic. Here’s how it works:

1) I seek information about hats. Links appear on my screen prompted by a website’s contents (natural search). There are ads on the right, but none at the top of the screen.

2) The first site’s profile appears appropriate for my needs and I click on the link.

3) Google’s search page suddenly  hiccups and ads appear at the top of the screen.

4) The link I originally wanted has been shifted down and I actually connect with an ad for the same item, but not at the company I wanted.

So unless I’m paying close attention, I won’t realize this shift has transpired and I’m suddenly browsing a site other than the one I was expecting.

The first few times this happened, I thought I’d done something wrong. As I’ve tested other computers, however, I’ve realized the hiccup is no accident.

I’ve found no public statement about Google’s strategy. However, as this hiccup provides an advantage for Google’s advertisers, it’s obviously planned. Not particularly honest, mind you, but nevertheless planned.

Google Adwords is already a multi-billion dollar operation and growing. Businesses of every stripe are recognizing the importance of using these ads to drive traffic to their websites, where they make their big sales pitch.

Which means if you want to take advantage of the hiccup, insist Google place your ad at the top of the screen rather than on the right. If you’re willing to pay enough for the top spot, you may just realize an unexpected bump in traffic from visitors who thought they were going someplace else.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Mr. Marketing has lots of marketing tricks to help grow your business. Contact him at

Related posts:

  1. Ask Mr. Marketing: Paying for every click
  2. Ask Mr. Marketing: What’s that black box?
  3. Ask Mr. Marketing: Don’t live by bread alone
  4. Ask Mr. Marketing: Kiss me. Buy from me.
  5. Ask Mr. Marketing: Making video marketing work for you

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Jun 8 2012. Filed under Ask Mr. Marketing, Business, Columnists, Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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