Google’s New Green Ad Icon

It looks like Google is test-driving a new ad icon color in selected countries. The new ad icon color is pastel green – a big change from Google’s traditional goldish-yellow ad icon. Take a look:

Traditional Ad Icon 

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 1.13.52 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 1.12.26 PM

United States –

New Ad Icon

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 1.13.52 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 1.11.56 PM

Canada –

A simple change, but what does it mean? Let’s take a closer look.


  • Toned Down– the new pastel green icon is much less vibrant than the traditional goldish-yellow icon. The pastel green tones down the advertising section of the SERP, giving it a more native feel.
  • More Minimal – The switch to green drops the total colors used in a paid search result down to 3. This lowers the cognitive load users take on when scanning a SERP, allowing them to click on an ad with less thought.


The icon color change is an attempt to give search ads a more native feel. The change softens the contrast between paid and organic search results. This is great for Google and Search advertisers, because it should help increase paid search click traffic.

Right now the playing field is extremely lopsided in favor of organic search. It always has been. But this has never really been an issue for Google or advertisers.

Google’s search engine  processes over 3.5  Billion searches per day. If paid search represents 5% of that 3.5B clicks per day, that equates to 175 million clicks. Even a 1% increase for paid search would result in an additional 35 million clicks per day.

The icon color change is consistent with Google’s drop of right-rail ads back in February 2016.  The drop in right-rail ads was aimed at improving user experience by giving the SERP a much more consistent feel. Although the icon color change is minor in comparison, it is still aimed at improving SERP experience for users.


I think the new green ad icon is great for paid search. It ties together paid and organic results nicely. The combination of green icon + no more right-rail ads has really changed the dynamic of Google’s SERP. It also gives the paid search ad a more polished look in my opinion.

What do you think of the new ad icon color change?

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Jon Kaspszak

Jon is an avid digital marketer and works in software marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn. He would love to hear from you!

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