Google first started testing different ways of displaying the 'Ad label' that appeared beside text ads back in 2017. Since then, Google have opted for a green rectangle with the word 'Ad' clearly marked, this is to differentiate text ads from Google’s organic search results. This change was in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recommendation for all search engines to clearly label ads. It suggested, prominent shading and a prominent border.
The latest label test: Google recently released a new version of its 'Ad label'. The latest change features bold black text and no rectangle border around it. The label is now located at the top of the ad text with the display URL right next to it - see example below.
“We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our users and advertisers” a Google spokesperson said.
Why should you care: The latest test indicates that Google are seeking a more subtle label. Due to the colour and the absence of a border, the ads are more discreet.
It will be interesting to see the impact (if any) on click-through-rates. This change is relatively new, there is not a robust amount of data available to make any reasonable assumptions.