The increased amount of ad space and additional paid search functionality features have done more than expand options for advertisers; they have physically moved the organic search results further down the page.
The change in Google search engine results from January 2013 to May 2016. The red square highlights the organic listings that are visible on the first page. The yellow line represents the standard page cut off point for the average desktop browser size. The May 2016 result is the current format which shows over half of the consumers above the fold screen estate controlled by paid search advertisements.
In 2016, when a searcher types in a high volume query, i.e. “car dealer near me,” they have the potential to only see paid search results on more than 50% of their desktop screen, and 100% of their mobile screen.
The organic push further down the SERP has caused consumers to react to the information that is presented to them first, which has shifted more and more toward paid placements. The data for this trend has come into focus in the 2016 Q1 Merkle Digital Marketing Report, which shows a first-ever win for paid search over organic search in the share of mobile site visits. (“Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report”, p. 21)