The vast majority of Google’s multi-billion dollar empire is made up of advertising, specifically AdWords advertising. It makes sense that they put a huge amount of R&D into this particular product, but tweaking the background colour of their sponsored ad blocks seems a little too easy. Here’s what they were caught testing just a couple of days ago:
On the face of it, this tiny (almost indistinguishable) tweak is a non-issue, but Google results pages have billions of pageviews every day. The impact of even just one seemingly insignificant change in background colour can quite easily impact their bottom line by literally millions of dollars over the course of the year. And this isn’t the first time that they’ve tweaked the same background colour.
Google is constantly testing minor variations that build on their existing revenue; clearly the addition of (not provided) keyword data and larger, more extensive ad blocks has not been enough – Google is showing no signs of drawing back their AdWords product and giving organic results the exposure that they once had.